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ICC T20I Rankings Annual Update - No change in Top 4

South Africa will swap places with England at rank 5 and 6 in official ICC T20I Rankings update after this year’s annual update. The top 4 T20I teams - Pakistan, Australia, India and New Zealand - and 7th ranked West Indies will retain their current rankings.
Afghanistan will swap places at 8 and 9 with Sri Lanka while Scotland is expected to do the same at 10 and 11 with Bangladesh and Netherlands with Zimbabwe at 12 and 13. Since the T20I teams from non-Test playing nations haven’t played T20Is with same frequency as of T20I teams from Test Playing nations, ICC is expected to apply special formulas for their comparative rankings.

Similarly, in terms of rating points - the fundamental factor in the rankings that is awarded for each match based on the latest ranking of the opponent before that particular match - the impact of annual update on Teams' rating points will not be of any major significance.
However, in terms of teams earning the highest rating points in the last ICC T20I Rankings Season - May 2017 to April 2018 - Australia finishes at the top, followed closely by Pakistan.
Australia accumulated 155 rating points in this period which is incredible in itself, however, this tally was 44 points more than what they had on May 1, 2017 which makes the last season of ICC T20I Rankings even more remarkable for Australians.
Instead, if the performance of T20I teams during May 2017 and April 2018 is compared with their current rating points, Australia's performance still stands out.

The other team that performed even higher than outstanding benchmark was Pakistan who amassed 150 rating points in this period. This is the second successive ICC Ranking Season in which Pakistan achieved more than 150 rating points; the last season they compiled 155 rating points. As a result Fof these consistently outstanding performances, Pakistan became the number 1 T20I team in the world for the first time since the commencement of official ICC T20I Rankings in 2012.

To conclude this brief analysis, here is a quick view of how T20I Teams have progressed since the last annual update of ICC T20I Rankings

All future calculations are for indicative purposes only & are based on information publicly available about Rankings formulas & rankings at different points in time; minor variation with official update is possible
Official status to be shared ICC in coming weeks.


England to claim number 1 ODI Ranking after annual update

England will return to the top spot, for the first time since December 2012, at the annual update of the Rankings on May 1, 2018. The overall rankings will remain pretty much the same with only 4 teams exchanging positions in the table. England will replace India at the top while New Zealand will replace South Africa at number 3. There will be no change of ranking for eight other ranked teams.
In terms of Rating, 4 teams – England, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe – will benefit from the annual update while rating of 6 teams – New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia – will take a blow. The rating of Bangladesh and India will only have fractional impact of this year’s update.

More specifically, this is how the 12 ranked ODI teams have performed in terms of rating since the last rankings update on May 1, 2017.
The ICC Rankings works on a weighted average model for a period of last 36 to 48 months. Every team is awarded rating points for each match it plays within the last 36 to 48 months. The rating points earned since the last annual update carries full weight while the weightage of rating points earned for matches played between the last and the third last annual update is halved. Since 2013, ICC applies the annual update on May 1 every year.

On May 1, 2018, the weightage of rating points earned between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017 will be reduced to half while performances before May 1, 2015 shall be expunged from the calculations. It will be the first ICC Rankings table free of any impact of performances during 2015 ICC Cricket World or earlier.

England and Pakistan come out as the top gainers of 2018 update. Unsurprisingly, these two teams were the most disappointing performers of 2015 World Cup. Both of them were carrying the burden of below-par performances in 2015 World Cup and earlier, and as soon as those performances have been discarded from the equation, their ratings improve substantially.

From the nightmare of failing to qualify for the Quarter Finals of 2015 World Cup to reclaiming the throne within three years, it has been a fascinating tale of resurgence of English Cricket. They had slipped to number 6 in February 2015 and touched their lowest rating points tally of 94 in May 2015. Since then, their rejigged method and approach to ODI Cricket has been bringing them the results and, finally, it has put them back to the top of ICC ODI Rankings table.

The other team whose performance catches the attention is Pakistan. Around 19 months ago, they had slipped to their worst ever rating points tally of 84 while at the start of last ICC ODI Rankings season, they were facing an embarrassing possibility of missing the direct qualification for 2019 World Cup. Since then, it has been a fascinating revival that saw them accumulate highest number of ranking points in any ICC ODI Rankings Season in last 5 years. This is also the first time in 5 years that their Season tally has gone beyond the benchmark of 100 rating points.

The next part of this review of annual ICC ODI Rankings Update will cover more in-depth details and analysis of ODI teams in corresponding period. Here is the summary view of how ODI teams have performed in ICC ODI Rankings since the last annual update, to conclude this part, for now.

All future calculations are for indicative purposes only & are based on information publicly available about Rankings formulas & rankings at different points in time; minor variation with official update is possible
Official status to be shared ICC in coming weeks.


PSL3 Points Table Predictor

As the tournament approaches half way stage of the league round, the curiosity, discussions and debates have already begun. Fans of Lahore Qalandars are especially interested in permutations and possibilities that can take Lahore Qalandars into the next round.

The good news for LQ fans is that, even after the dismal performance of their team, mathematically, their team is still in the race. What combination of results can take Lahore to the next round? Here's a predictor that provides the means to satisfy that curiosity. All you have to do is to select the winner of remaining matches and the predictor table updates automatically.

Before getting on the game of predictions, do keep in mind a few rules of the game here:

  • The predicted table predicts the final tally of team points only at the end of league round with no calculation of Run Rates or Net Run Rates. 
  • The final standing of the teams, in case of teams tied at equal points, will be determined by NRR and other subsequent methods applied in PSL.
  • The default result for all remaining matches have been set to 'abandoned'; this is to answer the hypothetical scenario of what if all the remaining matches are washed out.
That's it. Let the predictions begin, may the calculator be with you.


Departmental One Day Tournament – Battle for the Semis

The league stage of Departmental One Day Tournament has entered into its final round with all 8 teams to play one final game before the knock out round – 2 Semi Finals and Final. Last day of the league stages will see 8 teams lock horns with each other with Semi Final berths still up for grabs.

UBL has clearly outperformed all other competitors. Winning 6 out of 6, and remaining the only undefeated side in the competition, UBL is already beyond the reach of other teams. Outcomes on the last day of the League round will not affect UBL’s position at the top.

There are two other teams whose positions will not be impacted with the results on the day, KRL and NBP. After winning only one and none, respectively, both KRL and NBP are out of the race. That makes the match between the league leader UBL and team ranked second from the bottom, KRL, a dead rubber.

However, the match between NBP, the team positioned at the bottom and WAPDA, the team currently at number 3 in the points table, is still pretty significant for the tournament. This is all because of the suffocatingly-tight competition among the 5 teams, currently placed 2nd to 6th in the points table.
The competition between these 5 teams – PTV, WAPDA, SSGC, SNGPL and HBL –  stands as fascinating and cutthroat as it can ever get. These teams are currently separated with only 2 points between them. None of them is confirmed for the Semi Finals, yet. But they all will take the field, in the last match of the round, with a genuine chance to occupy a Semi Final berth.

In the other two matches on the Final day of the league stages, 2nd ranked PTV will take on 4th ranked SSGC while 5th ranked SNGPL will square off with HBL. Here’s a look at possible outcomes and qualification scenarios.

  • If WAPDA wins against NBP:
    • and PTV wins against SSGC:
      • PTV will qualify (most probably at number 2, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and WAPDA vs NBP matches)
      • WAPDA will qualify (most probably at number 3, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and WAPDA vs NBP matches)
      • Winner of SNGPL and HBL will finish number 4 – only team with 8 points
      • SSGC will fail to qualify (most probably finish at number 5, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and SNGPL vs HBL matches)
    • If PTV loses against SSGC
      • WAPDA will qualify, finishing at number 2 – only team with 10 points
      • 3 teams will be tied at 8 points – PTV, SSGC and winner of SNGPL vs HBL
      • SSGC will go to number 3 [SSGC’s current NRR is 0.722 which is only going to get better in case of a win]
      • If SNGPL wins against HBL:
      • Most probably, PTV will finish 4th and SNGPL on 5th (unless PTV faces a thrashing defeat and SNGPL scores a thumping win)
      • If HBL wins against SNGPL:
      • PTV will finish 4th and HBL on 5th. HBL can not cover up in one game for the extremely bad NRR.
  • If WAPDA loses against NBP:
    • and PTV wins against SSGC:
      • PTV will qualify, finishing at number 2 with 10 points
      • WAPDA and winner of SNGPL vs HBL (tied at 8 points) will go through
      • If SNGPL wins: SNGPL will finish 3rd and WAPDA 4th
      • IF HBL wins: WAPDA will finish 3rd and HBL 4th
      • SSGC will drop to number 5 or lower
    • IF PTV loses against SSGC:
      • 4 teams will be tied at 8 points – PTV, WAPDA, SSGC and winner of SNGPL vs HBL
      • SSGC will qualify (most probably at number 2, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and SNGPL vs HBL matches)
      • PTV will qualify (most probably at number 3, the final ranking will depend on the margin of results in SSGC vs PTV and SNGPL vs HBL matches)
      • If SNGPL wins: SNGPL will qualify with NRR 0.069+ and WAPDA will drop to number 5 with NRR -0.031- . HBL will finish at 6th with 6 points.
      • If HBL wins: (Most likely, WAPDA will finish number 4th, HBL 5th and SNGPL 6th)

Following table provides a quick guide to possible outcomes and its likely impact on the final standings in the group:


Rising eagle eyeing elusive Kiwi

The Eagle, fresh from its fascinating flight at the ICC Champions Trophy, has landed down under. The target in sight, this time, is that elusive kiwi that has remained a tough prey to hunt, especially, in its own backyard.

The history of ODIs between the two sides coincides with the very first ODI these two sides ever played. They were the first opponent for each other in this format. Over the years, the two sides have faced-off 98 times in this format, where Pakistan won 53 times and Kiwis came out on top 42 times. Once the contest ended in a tie and twice without any result.
Over the years, the two sides have faced-off 98 times in this format, where Pakistan won 53 times and Kiwis came out on top 42 times 
Pakistan’s slight edge in bilateral contests is primarily based on Pakistan’s dominance over the opponent in multi-team tournaments and the bilateral encounters in Pakistan.
69 of those ODIs have been played as part of bilateral series while 29 were played during multi-team tournaments. The Kiwis have their noses in front, literally, with 34 wins to Pakistan’s 32 wins in those 69 bilateral encounters (1 tie, 2 n/r).
In multi-team tournaments, however, Pakistan has simply dominated with 21 wins in comparison to 8 wins of New Zealand in 29 contests. Similarly, New Zealand’s slight edge over Pakistan in bilateral contests (34-32) is primarily due to the dominance of Kiwis over the Eagles on Kiwi soil.
New Zealand’s 26 wins, out of total 34 in bilateral ODI series with Pakistan, have come in New Zealand while they have won only 3 in Pakistan and 5 at neutral venue. In comparison, Pakistan has won 13 bilateral contests in New Zealand, 16 in Pakistan and 3 on neutral venues.
The neutral venue in this context is UAE, the adopted home of Pakistan Cricket in recent years. Hence, if those games are also counted as Pakistan’s home games, Pakistan still maintain a clear lead of 19-8 at home in comparison to New Zealand’s dominance at home with 26-13.
If the mode of measurement is changed more specifically to the results of bilateral ODI series between the two sides then it paints even more interesting picture. There have been 19 bilateral ODI series played between Pakistan and New Zealand.11 of those ODI series have been played in New Zealand, 6 in Pakistan, while 2 have been staged in UAE. Only 1 of those 19 bilateral ODI series ended in a draw (2-2 in New Zealand in 1995/96).
It may come as a surprise to some, New Zealand has won more bilateral ODI series than Pakistan. New Zealand has won 11 of those series while Pakistan managed to come out victorious on 7 occasions. Out of Pakistan’s 7 ODI series wins against the Kiwis, 5 have come at home and none at the neutral venue (UAE).
On the other hand, New Zealand has won 8 out of 11 ODI series at home, 1 out of 6 in Pakistan and 2 out of 2 in UAE.New Zealand’s only series win against Pakistan in Pakistan came in the very first bilateral series of the two sides in Pakistan, back in 1976/77 when the visitors won the 1 match series 1-0. The two teams have played 2 ODI series in UAE, both won by New Zealand.
Pakistan managed to defeat New Zealand in New Zealand in an ODI series only twice – once when Pakistan’s World Champion side defeated New Zealand 3-1 in 1993/94 and then just before the 2011 World Cup when Pakistan beat New Zealand 3-2 in New Zealand.
Since the last time these two sides met in an ODI series, in New Zealand in 2015/16, New Zealand has played 8 bilateral ODI series while Pakistan has participated in 6.During this period, Pakistan, played 4 away series – against Ireland, England, Australia and West Indies – winning against Ireland and West Indies.
Meanwhile, New Zealand played 5 home series – two against Australia, one against Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies each – and managed to win all except against South Africa. In a nutshell, Pakistan hasn’t won anything notable away from home while New Zealand hasn’t lost much at home.
8-2 and 26-13 (New Zealand’s tally in bilateral ODI Series and ODIs respectively) simply goes to show how elusive the win against New Zealand in New Zealand has been for Pakistan. This is one elusive kiwi that the eagle has failed to tame often enough. Would this contingent of eagles be able to tame the kiwis this time? Only time will tell. The eagle is on the rise, again.
Just recently, from the one being in danger of missing out the direct qualification for the next World Cup, they flew to the top of the world. Nothing looks undoable for this pack of eagles. Will they succeed? May the luck be on the best side’s side.

Reshaping of ODI Rankings

At the last ICC ODI Rankings Annual update on May 1, 2017, ICC ODI World was dominated by the usual names. South Africa occupied the top spot with 123 points, followed by Australia with 118 points, then India at 117 and New Zealand at 115. England ranked 5th with 109 points, Sri Lanka 6th with 93, Bangladesh 7th with 91 and Pakistan at 8th with 88 points constituted the list of top 8 ODI sides in the world.

At exactly the halfway point in ICC ODI Rankings Season 2017-18, it is probably the right time to have a look at how different International Teams have performed since then. During exactly six months of this season, the ICC ODI Universe has received a vibrant shake up. To ascertain the impact of performances of last six months on overall ICC ODI Rankings, let’s have a supposed scenario.

Let’s assume that no more ODI Cricket will be played between now and till the next ICC Annual Update on May 1, 2018. What will be ICC ODI Rankings after that update? If this assumption is applied, England - leapfrogging from the 5th spot - would emerge as the new number 1 team in ICC ODI Rankings with 124 points while Pakistan, who were struggling, just a couple of months ago, even for the direct qualification for 2019 ICC World Cup, would jump to number 4 ranking in ICC ODI Ranking.

Australia would drop to number 5 and Sri Lanka, who were at number 6 with 93 points, would slip to number 8, only 0.6 points ahead of West Indies who will remain at number 9. This is how much the results of last six months have remained unconventional and against the trends.
This is how the ICC ODI Rankings would look under the assumption:

All this shift and reshaping in ICC ODI Rankings is based on unusually good by some teams and, equally, unusually bad performances by some teams. If the rating points earned by different teams only in this period are considered, here’s the summary of their performances:

England and Pakistan have been exceptional during this period. Pakistan have lost only 1 out of their 10 ODIs which was against India, their first game in Champions Trophy. England have played 14 ODIs in this period and lost only 2, 1 against Pakistan during Champions Trophy and 1 against South Africa just before the tournament. India has been a bit patchy. Out of 23 ODIs India played in this period (the most by any team), they lost 5, 1 each against Bangladesh and Pakistan in the Champions Trophy, and then 1 each in their ODI series with the West Indies (away), Australia (home) and New Zealand (home).

Zimbabwe also seems to be on the improvement path. Other than Pakistan, England, India and South Africa, Zimbabwe is the only team that has managed to win more matches than they have lost during this period. They played 7 and won 4. Out of 5 games against Sri Lanka, they won 3 times.
The biggest disappointment of the season has been Australia who have won only 1 out of their 8 matches during this season. In effect, they have earned only 84 rating points this season which is pretty unusual for an Australian side. West Indies has maintained itself, albeit on their disappointing standard.

But it has been Sri Lanka whose performance have gone from even worse to painful. During this season, Sri Lanka has played 18 ODIs and have lost 15 of them. Their only win against a team other than the lower ranked Zimbabwe was against India during the Champions Trophy. Other than that, they have mostly remained listless in ODI series against India and Pakistan.

Whatever the results be in the next six months and whatever the ICC ODI Rankings be after the next ICC Annual Update, one thing is pretty clear from the results of the first half of this season. That is, the trends are changing, the ICC ODI Universe is reshaping, and some old mates have returned to the party to challenge the boys at the top. It’s a refreshing shift in ODI Cricket that must go on, at least for a while, for its own benefit.

Career Best ICC ODI Rankings for Pakistan Bowlers


From MisYou to AzAs

If Pakistan’s last Test in Roseau, Dominica marked the end of MisYou era, the Abu Dhabi Test is going to annotate the dawn of AzAs age. It will be the first time Azhar Ali will take the field not as the most experienced batsman in the side but also the most experienced player overall with 60 Test caps next to his name. Asad Shafiq will be the next most experienced player with 56 Tests to his name.

  • No player with 60+ Tests, for the first time since 2011 vs West Indies
  • Pakistan squad slips from 16th to 287th most experienced side ever
  • The most inexperienced eleven since 2011, vs Sri Lanka at Dubai
  • Pakistan’s batting lineup slips from most experienced ever to 255th
  • First-ever Test without Misbah and Younis in 7 years, after 58 Tests
  • Only Azhar, Amir, Sarfaraz played a Test without Misbah and Younis
  • Azhar to appear as Senior Most Player for the first time ever
  • The expected top-7 batting order to go in with 181 Tests in Total
  • 83% - 151 out of those 181 Tests played by Azhar, Asad and Sarfaraz
  • 3 others will go in with 30 Tests in between them
  • 1 guaranteed debutant in top 7

Fawad Alam - Pakistan Cricket's Enigma

The following piece was first posted on May 26, 2016 on Scoreline Portal. 16 months on,the situation is still the same.


Brief Mention in Indian Express

A brief mention in "The Indian Express" today. Glad they picked the pertinent part of the show on PTV Sports and referred to it in the right spirit.

Click here to read full article on The Indian Express website

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