Over the next few days, as the thrilling Asia Cup comes to an end in Sri Lanka, the competition to be the top-ranked ODI team at the commencement of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup intensifies.

Due to the fact that there are still plenty of 50-over matches to be played before the World Cup’s opening match, both Pakistan and third-placed India have a chance to maintain their top-ranked status after Australia’s loss to South Africa in the third ODI of their series on Tuesday.

We examine the games that each team will play before the World Cup kicks off on October 5.

Table of Contents

Pakistan

Current ranking: Equal first
Current rating: 118
Upcoming fixtures: Sri Lanka (September 14), Potential Asia Cup Final (September 17)

The outcome of Pakistan’s final Super Four match versus Sri Lanka at the Asia Cup will have a significant impact on their hopes of holding the top spot at the commencement of the World Cup.

In order to go to the Asia Cup final, Babar Azam’s team must win that match. A further victory over India in that match might advance Pakistan to the top spot before the World Cup.

Except for the World Cup warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia that do not carry ODI status, Pakistan does not have any further ODI matches between the conclusion of the Asia Cup and the start of the World Cup to support their case.

However, if they can win the Asia Cup and cause Australia and India to lose significant ratings points in the interim, this may work to their advantage.

Australia

Current ranking: Equal first
Current rating: 118
Upcoming fixtures: South Africa (September 15, September 17), India (September 22, September 24, September 27)

Despite having lost badly to South Africa in the third One-Day International of their current series on Tuesday, Australia is still in the running to be the top-ranked team at the commencement of the World Cup.

Australia can win the series if they win their final two games against the Proteas, but if they lose both of those games, Pakistan and India will have the upper hand heading into the World Cup.

The three-match series between Australia and India at the end of this month will then significantly influence who starts the World Cup with the top ranking.

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India

Current ranking: Third
Current rating: 116
Upcoming fixtures: Bangladesh (September 15), Asia Cup Final (September 17), Australia (September 22, September 24, September 27)

India competes in the most ODIs of the top three contenders for the No. 1 spot, and if they can maintain their recent winning streak, they may be able to pass Australia and Pakistan.

In this year’s Asia Cup, Rohit Sharma’s team has yet to suffer a loss, and should Australia and Pakistan lose their remaining games, they could theoretically move up to the No. 1 spot by winning the competition.

Similar to Australia, India’s forthcoming three-match series against Pat Cummins’ team might be crucial in determining which team holds the No. 1 ranking going into the World Cup.

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