Pakistan’s , Babar Azam’s in-form side just one win away from claiming the No.1 ODI team ranking. A further boost just weeks out from the start of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup with

On Thursday in Hambantota, Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by a narrow margin of one wicket to secure the match and take a commanding 2-0 series lead.

With a victory over Afghanistan in the third and final game of their series, Pakistan might take the top spot as the No. 1 ranked one-day side as early as Saturday. This lifted Pakistan’s ODI team rating just short of first-placed Australia.

That would be a significant boost for Pakistan ahead of the 50-over competition this year, when Babar’s team is one of the favourites to win a second World Cup in India.

Pakistan’s last World Cup victory came in 1992 in Australia, and if they can maintain their recent upward trend, they might enter this year’s tournament as the No. 1 ODI squad.

Pakistan has lost just three of its ten One-Day Internationals this year, all against New Zealand, and their performance in the current Afghanistan series puts them in position to overtake Australia atop the rankings.

With Babar at the top of the MRF Tyres ODI Batter rankings with teammates Imam-ul-Haq (third) and Fakhar Zaman (fifth) not far behind, Pakistan also has some of the highest-ranked ODI players.

Pakistan will compete in the 2023 Asia Cup following the conclusion of their series with Afghanistan, and their opening game in that six-team competition will take place on August 30 in Multan against Nepal.

They then play in official World Cup warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia, with their opening match at this year’s competition taking place on October 6 in Hyderabad against the Netherlands.

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