Series sweep of Pakistan 3-0; Climb to the top of the ICC ODI World Rankings
Colombo, August 26: Brilliant bowling efforts by Shadab Khan (3-42), Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-31) and Faheem Ashraf (2-43) after half-centuries from captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan (67) helped Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 59 runs and won a series of Three games 3-0 here on Saturday.
An impressive all-around performance which resulted in Pakistan’s clean sweep against Afghanistan saw them overtake Australia to take first place in the ICC men’s ODI rankings.
After a brief stay with No. 1 in May, a series of whitewashes over Afghanistan helped Pakistan return to No. 1 in the men’s ODI rankings.
Pakistan entered the third and final ODI leading 2-0 and defeated their neighbors after a strong second innings with the bat.
Despite fumbling in the middle with the bat, Pakistan finished strongly on a slow pitch, making 268 not out with Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scoring a half century.
In response, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Faheem Ashraf made two early catches before the Spinners struck at regular intervals to keep Afghanistan in check.
Mujibur Rahman hit the fastest half-century for Afghanistan in the history of ODI cricket for a late reply.
He hit a 26-ball half-century to better Rashid Khan’s record fifty-eight in 27 balls against Ireland. But his 37 and 64 balls were not enough because Pakistan had a lot for Afghanistan to win. Shadab finished with three wickets to his name as Pakistan completed the whitewash.
Pakistan has dominated the ODI format over the past year. In the 2022 season, they beat West Indies and Netherlands 3-0 home and away respectively. They followed that up with a 2-1 win over New Zealand at home in January 2023.
The Black Caps then returned for a five-match ODI competition in April. Pakistan managed to win the series 4-1. Now the 3-0 series victory helped them reach the first place in the world rankings.
Prior to the Afghanistan series, Australia was at the top of the ranking table with 118 rating points while Pakistan was in second place with 115.8 rating points.
Now Pakistan leads with 118.48 ranking points while Australia occupies second place with no change in its score.
And with the upcoming Asian Cup and other ODI competitions in the run-up to the Men’s Cricket World Cup, there is still room to move around in the top three: Pakistan, Australia and India.
Pakistan 8/268 in 50 overs (Babar Azam 60, Mohammad Rizwan 67, Agha Salman 38 not out; Gulbuddin Nayeb 2-36, Fareed Ahmed 2-70) beat Afghanistan 209 in 48.4 overs (Mujibur Rahman 64, Shahidullah 37 ). Shadab Khan 3-42, Shaheen Afridi 2-31, Faheem Ashraf 2-43) with 59 points.
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