New Zealand, Bangladesh kick off busy ODI period

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New Zealand will kick off a three-match home series against Bangladesh in Napier on Wednesday with the aim of moving up to third position in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings as sides prepare for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

New Zealand will need to win 3-0 to overtake South Africa in the rankings but South Africa too will have a shot at improving their position in the coming weeks as nine of the 10 teams to feature in the 30 May to 14 July event will be seen in action in different parts of the world.

New Zealand have slipped to fourth place in the ICC ODI Team Rankings after their 4-1 series defeat to India.

Table leaders England will take on the Windies in a five-match series starting in Bridgetown on 20 February knowing that a series loss could give a chance to India to overtake them just weeks ahead of the World Cup. If England lose the series to the Windies and India win a subsequent home series against Australia by a 4-1 margin, the 2011 champions will be at the top of the table by 13 March.

Similarly, Australia could overtake Pakistan with a series win by any margin over second-ranked India while 10th-ranked Afghanistan would be aiming to close the gap with two-times champions Windies, as the Asian side take on Ireland in a five-match home series being played in the Indian city of Dehradun from 28 February.

While the hectic mix of Tests, ODIs and T20Is over the past few months have seen all the leading players in action, the best in the format would be looking to fine-tune their wares for the 50-over contests and gain any psychological advantage by way of improvements in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings.

India captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma currently lead the list of batsmen with two others from their team – left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan (10th) and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17th) also featuring in the top 20.

England also have four players in the top 20 with the list having a sprinkling from different teams at the top with Ross Taylor of New Zealand, Joe Root of England, Babar Azam of Pakistan, Faf du Plessis of South Africa and Shai Hope of the Windies taking the positions from third to seventh.

The list of bowlers too is led by an Indian, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who is one among four Indians in the top 20 including wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who are in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan is in second place among bowlers and first among all-rounders, but only one point ahead of Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan.

Series scenarios:

New Zealand v Bangladesh:

New Zealand win 3-0 – New Zealand 112 points, Bangladesh 90 points
New Zealand win 2-1 – New Zealand 111, Bangladesh 93
Bangladesh win 2-1 – New Zealand 109, Bangladesh 95
Bangladesh win 3-0 – New Zealand 107, Bangladesh 97
England v Windies:

England win 5-0 – England 127, Windies 71
England win 4-1 – England 125, Windies 74
England win 3-2 – England 123, Windies 76
Windies win 3-2 – England 121, Windies 78
Windies win 4-1 – England 120, Windies 81
Windies win 5-0 – England 118, Windies 83
South Africa v Sri Lanka:

South Africa win 5-0 – South Africa 112, Sri Lanka 76
South Africa win 4-1 – South Africa 111, Sri Lanka 78
South Africa win 3-2 – South Africa 109, Sri Lanka 79
Sri Lanka in 3-2 – South Africa 107, Sri Lanka 81
Sri Lanka win 4-1 – South Africa 105, Sri Lanka 83
Sri Lanka win 5-0 – South Africa 104, Sri Lanka 84
India v Australia:

India win 5-0 – India 124, Australia 97
India win 4-1 – India 123, Australia 99
India win 3-2 – India 121, Australia 101
Australia win 3-2 – India 120, Australia 103
Australia win 4-1 – India 119, Australia 105
Australia win 5-0 – India 117, Australia 107

Afghanistan win 5-0 – Afghanistan 69, Ireland 35
Afghanistan win 4-1 – Afghanistan 67, Ireland 39
Afghanistan win 3-2 – Afghanistan 65, Ireland 42
Ireland win 3-2 – Afghanistan 63, Ireland 45
Ireland win 4-1 – Afghanistan 60, Ireland 49
Ireland win 5-0 – Afghanistan 58, Ireland 52