Babar Azam’s Pakistan get boost ahead of World Cup!

The Pakistan cricket team is set to receive a shot in the arm weeks ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

The Babar Azam-led team is just one win away from claiming the No.1 ODI team ranking.

The one-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Hambantota on Thursday, and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game series, saw Pakistan’s ODI team rating sore to just short of first-placed Australia.

They can claim the coveted top rank in ODIs as early as Saturday with a victory over Afghanistan in the third and final match of their series.

That would prove a huge boost for Pakistan on the eve of this year’s 50-over showcase, with Babar’s side among the favourites to claim a second World Cup title in India this year.

Pakistan’s sole success at the World Cup came back in 1992 in Australia and they could enter this year’s edition with the No.1 ODI team ranking if they can continue on their recent upward curve.

In 10 ODI matches this year Pakistan have lost just three — all against New Zealand — and their form with both bat and ball during the ongoing Afghanistan series has them on the cusp of claiming the top ranking from Australia.

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

Following the completion of the series against Afghanistan, Pakistan will vie for the 2023 Asia Cup title and their first match in that six-team tournament comes against Nepal in Multan on August 30.

They then take on New Zealand and Australia in official warm-up fixtures for the World Cup, with their first clash at this year’s tournament coming against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6.

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