South Africa & New Zealand Eye ODI Rankings Boost

South Africa can move into third place in the ICC ODI Team Rankings if it defeats New Zealand in a three-match series, which starts at Centurion, on Wednesday.  Just a single point separates the two sides heading into the series and this will be their first meeting in 50-over cricket since the thrilling ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 semi-final in Auckland which the Black Caps won by four wickets.  The Proteas can move to within three points of second-placed India with a 3-0 win, while a 2-1 scoreline for AB De Villiers’ side would see it switch both points tally and places with the New Zealanders.

A whitewash in favour of Kane Williamson’s men, on the other side of the coin, can strengthen its third position in the rankings and reduce India’s lead to two points, while a 2-1 win would see it gain a point.  The ODI and T20I tables, unlike the Test table, is updated after the series.

Home team captain De Villiers is the highest ranked batsman in ODI cricket heading into the series in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen.  The 31-year-old Pretorian holds a 50-points advantage over Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and is now just 59 runs short of the 8 000 mark in 187 matches to date.  Hashim Amla is ranked in third place, eight points and a place ahead of Kiwi skipper Williamson.

Other batsmen aiming for upwards movement on either side are Faf Du Plessis (17th ), Martin Guptill (19th ), David Miller (26th ), Grant Elliott (44th ) and wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi (50th ).  The South Africans have three bowlers in the top 10 of the Bowling rankings with just two points separating Dale Steyn (fourth) and Imran Tahir (fifth).

Tenth-placed Morne Morkel is on 646 points, four points adrift of England’s James Anderson ahead of the series, with Vernon Philander next on the list in 29th.  Meanwhile, in the absence of Trent Boult (second place) and Tim Southee (24th ) in the ICC Players Rankings for ODI Bowlers, New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan (29th ) is his side’s highest ranked bowler followed by Nathan McCullum (44th ) and Matt Henry (46th).  Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan continues to hold a commanding lead at the top of the ICC Player Rankings for ODI All-rounders on 418 points.