Pakistan claim No. 1 spot in ODI rankings after completing whitewash of Afghanistan

Afghanistan Pakistan Cricket
Pakistan completed a 3-0 clean sweep of Afghanistan. (Pic: AP)

Pakistan completed a 3-0 drubbing of Afghanistan in the three-match ODI series in Sri Lanka to snatch the No. 1 ranking in the 50-over format from Australia. The Men in Green earlier held the top position for a brief while in May.

Having won the first two ODIs against Afghanistan by 142 runs and one wicket, respectively, Pakistan completed a whitewash by hammering their opponents by 59 runs in the third match at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan posted 268/8 on the board. They lost their first two wickets for 52 runs, but half-centuries from skipper Babar Azam (60 off 86) and Mohammad Rizwan (67 off 79) lifted the batting side to a competitive score.

Shadab Khan then claimed 3/42, while Shaheen Afridi and Faheem Ashraf picked up two wickets each as Afghanistan were held to 209 despite Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s 64 off 37 balls.

Pakistan have displayed consistent form in one-dayers over the last year or so. In the 2022 season, they registered whitewashes over West Indies and Netherlands, which was followed by a 2-1 series win at home over New Zealand in January 2023. In April, Pakistan again defeated the same opponents 4-1 in a five-match series.

Heading into the Afghanistan series, Australia held the No. 1 position in ODIs with 118 rating points, while Pakistan were second with 115.8 rating points. The 3-0 result against Afghanistan means Pakistan now have 118.48 rating points, inching ahead of Australia.

“This should help us in Asia Cup” - Pakistan captain Babar reflects on win

Sharing his thoughts after Pakistan’s 3-0 clean sweep of Afghanistan, skipper Babar Azam admitted that the performance will give them confidence heading into the Asia Cup.

“We are number one in ODIs. All credit to the boys, they are working hard. We had a small camp in Lahore. All credit to the boys and the management. One of the best spin sides - Afghanistan. This should help us in Asia Cup,” he said.

On the performance in the third ODI, he added:

“The conditions weren't easy while batting first. Rizwan and I tried to build a partnership and take it deep. We have a good bunch of players. We tried different combinations.”

Pakistan will begin their Asia Cup campaign with a match against Nepal in Multan on August 30.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert
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