Pakistan have finally qualified for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy after their 3-2 ODI series win over Sri Lanka more or less ensured an eighth-place finish in the new ICC rankings before the cut-off date of September 30.
There were concerns as to whether they would be able to qualify for the competition, but Pakistan’s young one-day squad rose to the challenge and beat a Sri Lankan side which has also been in a transition phase.
A surprise addition into the top eight has been Bangladesh, who replaced the West Indies. Since the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, Bangladesh cricket has been on soaring high, producing strong performances such as those against Pakistan, India and South Africa in the 50-over format.
The eight sides to play in the short and sharp, nation-versus-nation ICC Champions Trophy 2017 are (in rankings order): world champions Australia, title holders India, 1998 winner South Africa, 2000 champion New Zealand, 2002 co-winner Sri Lanka, hosts England, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Former Pakistan players said that Pakistan’s qualification was a morale-booster and credited the youngsters for making it happen.
“Pakistan’s one-day team fought really well against Sri Lanka and they deserve to be in the ICC Champions Trophy,” said former off-spinner Tauseef Ahmed. “We have a good bunch of players who upped their game when it mattered. It’s good news for the fans of Pakistan and the players.”
Meanwhile, another former cricketer congratulated the team for ensuring that they do not miss out on such an important competition, but added that he feels for West Indies because they are a team like Pakistan which brings flare and excitement to any competition.
The ICC Champions Trophy will be a 15-match tournament, with teams split into two groups of four; the top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals. The groups and the schedule for the event will be announced in due course.
In other news, the next important qualification date in the diaries of the top 12 teams in the ICC ODI Team Rankings will be September 30, 2017. This is when the top-eight ranked sides in the ICC ODI Team Rankings will earn direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be hosted by the ECB.
The bottom four sides will get a second chance to complete the 10-team line-up in the ICC Cricket World Cup when they will be joined by sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018.
As such, all bilateral ODI cricket in the lead up to September 30, 2017, including the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, will now have greater importance as only 27 points separate second-ranked India from ninth-ranked West Indies.
ICC ODI Team Rankings
Rank Team Points
1 Australia 127
2 India 115
3 South Africa 110
4 New Zealand 109
5 Sri Lanka 103
6 England 100
7 Bangladesh 96
8 Pakistan 90
9 West Indies 88
10 Ireland 49
11 Zimbabwe 45
12 Afghanistan 41
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2015.
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