Pakistan’s cricket team has clinched the coveted No. 1 spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Rankings after a triumphant 3-0 series sweep against Afghanistan. This outstanding achievement marks their return to the pinnacle of ODI cricket, surpassing Australia.
Heading into the third game of the series, Pakistan had already established a commanding 2-0 lead. The first ODI witnessed a dominant performance by Pakistan, as they secured a resounding 142-run victory, propelled by a stellar bowling display. The second match, a thrilling nail-biter, saw Pakistan clinch victory in the final over with just one wicket in hand.
In the decisive third ODI, Pakistan prevailed with a 59-run margin, thanks to a strong second-half batting display. Despite a mid-innings wobble, Pakistan finished strongly on a challenging pitch, amassing a total of 268 runs, with Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam contributing crucial half-centuries.
The Pakistani bowlers, led by Faheem Ashraf, struck early blows, and the spinners maintained consistent pressure, preventing Afghanistan from gaining momentum. Although Mujeeb ur Rahman fought back with a rapid 26-ball half-century, Pakistan’s total proved insurmountable for Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s dominance in the ODI format has been evident over the past year. They started the 2022 season by whitewashing West Indies and Netherlands 3-0 in home and away series, respectively. This success continued with a 2-1 series victory over New Zealand at home in January 2023.
In April, New Zealand returned for a five-game ODI contest, where Pakistan secured a convincing 4-1 series win. This remarkable 3-0 series victory over Afghanistan has now propelled Pakistan to the summit of the rankings.
Before the Afghanistan series, Australia held the top position in the rankings with 118 rating points, while Pakistan was placed second with 115.8 rating points. However, Pakistan’s stellar performance has elevated them to the No. 1 rank, now boasting 118.48 rating points, while Australia retains its second position with no change in their points.
With the upcoming Asia Cup and other ODI contests in the lead-up to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the battle for supremacy among the top three teams—Pakistan, Australia, and India—promises to be fiercely competitive, offering cricket fans a thrilling spectacle in the months to come.