Ed Joyce becomes highest ranked non-Test batsman after two unbeaten centuries against Afghanistan
After being in the news for being the victim of a controversial run out incident in the 4th ODI, Ireland opener Ed Joyce made news for all the right reasons in the very next match. Responding to the controversy with a career-best score of 160*, Joyce has now vaulted 18 places to 24th spot in the latest ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen – thereby becoming the highest ranked batsman from among non-Test playing nations.
The ODI series between Ireland and Afghanistan was drawn 2-2 on Tuesday, the 37-year-old left-hander becoming the home side’s highest scorer in the series with 339 runs from four matches. He had scored 105* in the third match as well. In the fourth match, he had looked good in his short stay at the crease before going out in a manner which has since then been found to have been unjust.
He could not have found a better reply to the Afghans’ reluctance to follow the ‘spirit of cricket’ in not allowing him to bat on. Things were heated up between the two sides in the last match as well, Dawlat Zadran and Kevin o’ Brien being engaged in an expressive exchange towards the very end of the match. Zadran came up with a late cameo with the bat that got the Afghans within touching distance of a 3-1 series win, but Joyce’s 160 won the day in the end.
With the 160*, Joyce became the 2nd-oldest to score 150+ in ODIs, the highest being Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 161* against Bangladesh last year.
From among non-Test playing nations, Mohammad Shahzad at 34th spot is the second best ranked batsman. Paul Stirling and Kevin o' Brien of Ireland remain in the top 50.
The other sensation in the ODI series was teenaged Afghan leg spinner Rashid Khan, who has risen in the batsmen's’ chart as well as the bowlers’. He finished with 7 wickets in the series, and brought out his best performance with both bat and ball in the series. He has broken into the top 100 in the bowlers’ list for the first time, currently placed at 92nd.
Mohammad Nabi continues to be the 7th best all-rounder in the world, while Kevin o’ Brien has risen two spots to be ranked as the 12th best all-rounder.
In the teams’ rankings, both Afghanistan and Ireland retain their 10th and 12th spots, but the difference between them has come down from 10 points to 6.