Latest ICC T20I Rankings: Pakistan displace New Zealand to become number one
What's the story?
Following their 53-run defeat at the hands of India during the series opener in Delhi, New Zealand have conceded their number one spot in the ICC T20I rankings. As a consequence, Pakistan have now jumped to the top of the table for the first time in their history with the shortest format of the game.
Owing to their loss in the opening T20I against Virat Kohli's troops, New Zealand have lost as many as four rating points to slip to 121. Having amassed 124 rating points on the back of their recent consistency, Sarfraz Ahmed's team put themselves in a position to overtake the Kiwis to reach the top of the table. Meanwhile, India have gained two rating points and are now breathing down the back of fourth-ranked England.
Their defeat at the Feroz Shah Kotla was also New Zealand's maiden loss in the 20-over format against India. Coming into this game, the Kiwis had needed a victory to retain their number one ranking. However, a poor performance in the field poured cold water on their hopes of toppling the in-form Indian team.
The heart of the matter
While their performances in the traditional format of the game have dwindled following the retirements of stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, the infusion of young blood has turned Pakistan into one of the most dangerous teams in the limited-overs formats. In T20Is, they seem to be on a roll with six victories from their last seven matches.
After conquering West Indies 3-1 in the Caribbean earlier this year, Pakistan defeated a team representing World XI in the euphoric series on home soil. However, the 2-1 triumph against the Faf du Plessis-led side did not give them any points on the table. The 3-0 clean sweep of Sri Lanka in the split series in UAE and Lahore paved the way for Sarfraz's team to march towards the number one spot.
Latest ICC T20I Rankings
New Zealand can reclaim their number one ranking by defeating India in the remaining two matches of the series. The last two T20Is are scheduled to take place in Rajkot and Thiruvananthapuram on the 4th and 7th. A 2-1 series triumph takes the Blackcaps to 126 rating points which will be enough to comfortably dislodge the Pakistanis. However, a series defeat of any kind will put an end to their immediate chances of wresting back the top slot.
Under Sarfraz's captaincy, Pakistan are enjoying a recent resurgence in white-ball cricket. Their ascent to the top of the T20I rankings is further validation of their growing potency in the limited-overs formats.