Australia reclaim top spot in the latest ICC Men's ODI ranking; Team India remain third

Australia have been utterly dominant in ODIs this year
Australia have been utterly dominant in ODIs this year

Five-time world champions Australia are back at the pole position in the latest ICC ODI ranking following their win in the second ODI against South Africa at Bloemfontein.

The side brushed aside the Proteas by 123 runs after winning the first ODI in a thriller by three wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. The climb in the ranking comes just a few days after Pakistan became No.1 following their 3-0 series win against Afghanistan.

Babar Azam and company have continued their excellent ODI form in the Asia Cup by beating Nepal in the Group stages and Bangladesh in their Super Fours opener. On the other hand, Team India remains fixated at No.3 in the rankings despite the series win in the West Indies and a thumping of Nepal in the ongoing Asia Cup.

Meanwhile, Australia have been in outstanding form in the 50-over format, winning their last four series, dating back to 2022. Included in the streak is an impressive series win in India earlier this year and a couple of series whitewashes in three-match rubbers against England and New Zealand late last year.

All three teams have several matches before the World Cup in a battle over the top-ranking spot. While India and Pakistan are slated to play each other a possible two times should they qualify for the Asia Cup final, Australia has another three ODIs against South Africa before a three-match series in India.

India will take on Pakistan in their Super Four stage of the Asia Cup in Colombo on Sunday, September 10.

Marnus Labuschagne - The Star in both the Australian wins over South Africa

Labuschagne has been the unlikely hero for Australia in the ODI series against the Proteas.
Labuschagne has been the unlikely hero for Australia in the ODI series against the Proteas.

Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne has been the star performer in the opening two games against South Africa, following a miraculous return to the ODI team.

Following his exclusion from the Australian World Cup squad, the 29-year-old playing ODIs looked dead and buried for a while. However, injuries to several key players, including Steve Smith, meant Labuschagne received an unlikely opportunity to be part of the Australian squad for the South African series.

Even then, it appeared like the right-hander would be a spectator for the series after not featuring in the playing XI in the opening ODI. However, in an unforeseeable turn of events, Labuschagne entered as the concussion substitute at No. 8 for all-rounder Cameron Green in the opening game.

With the Aussies in dire straits at 93-6, he scored a defiant 80* off 93 deliveries to steer the visitors to a three-wicket win.

Labuschagne followed those heroics with a blistering century off 80 deliveries in the second ODI to make an incredible last-minute push for being in the World Cup squad.

The two sides will now play each other in the third ODI at Potchefstroom, with the South Africans in a must-win situation to keep the series alive.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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