Just 48 hours after claiming the top spot for the first time in history, Pakistan’s reign at the top of the ICC Men’s ODI Rankings came to an end.
After failing to defeat New Zealand in a clean sweep in the final ODI game played in Karachi on Sunday, May 7, the green shirts were deposed.
In a momentous victory over New Zealand in the fourth ODI, Pakistan moved up to the top spot, making history in the process. With this victory, they were able to surpass both India and Australia and take the coveted top spot in ODI cricket.
They briefly held the throne, but their reign was short-lived as the consolation victory by New Zealand dashed their dreams of a series sweep and sent them tumbling from the top.
Australia currently holds the top spot in the rankings with 113 points, followed closely by India in second place with 113 points. With 112 points, Pakistan is now ranked third.
Babar, the captain of the Pakistani team, acknowledged that they didn’t meet their goals despite winning the five-match series decisively 4-1.
“It was a fantastic series, but it didn’t come to a satisfying conclusion. Although Agha and Iftikhar formed a solid partnership, we struggled with the bat at the top and left too many runs on the table, he continued.
Choosing to bat first after winning the toss in a thrilling match on Sunday, New Zealand set a lofty target of 299 runs in 49.3 overs.
Will Young, the opening batsman, displayed his talent with a quick-fire innings of 91 runs off of 87 balls. Although Tom Blundell (15) and Henry Nicholls left the game early, the entire team’s batting lineup made a significant contribution to the team’s total. Tom Latham, the captain, took the initiative and scored 59 runs off of 58 deliveries.
Mark Chapman played his typical aggressive game in the middle overs, smashing two sixes and five boundaries. With a quick cameo of 28 runs from just 20 balls, Rachin Ravindra gave the total a late flourish that brought it very nearly to the 300-run threshold.
Among the Pakistani bowlers, Shaheen Afridi excelled, taking three wickets. With two wickets each, Usama Mir and Shadab Khan also contributed.
Babar Azam (1) and Mohammad Rizwan (9), Pakistan’s star players, left the team early in the chase, which caused problems for Pakistan’s batting lineup. Pakistan’s hopes were kept alive by Agha Salman (57) and Iftikhar Ahmed (94 off 72 balls) who both put forth heroic efforts. In addition to being unbeaten at the end of the innings, Iftikhar’s innings featured two sixes and eight boundaries.
Despite Iftikhar’s valiant efforts, Pakistan’s pursuit was unsuccessful because they left too much to be accomplished in the final minutes. An important milestone for the team was reached when New Zealand celebrated their first victory in the ODI series.