BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC): Pakistan’s one-day series against West Indies will take on special significance when the two teams clash in three matches starting later this month in the United Arab Emirates.
In the latest official International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings released yesterday, Pakistan were floundering at number nine on 86 points – just eight behind the West Indies in eighth spot.
With hosts England along with the seven highest-ranked nations qualifying automatically for the 2019 50-over World Cup, the latest rankings mean there will be a mad scramble at the bottom of the table for a top-eight spot.
The two remaining spots for the marquee tournament will be filled through a 10-team qualifying competition set for 2018.
Pakistan will now face the challenge of sweeping the day-night series against West Indies in order to remain in contention for an automatic World Cup berth.
West Indies, meanwhile, will be hoping for a positive series result in order to maintain their spot in the top eight of the rankings and also avoid the qualifying tournament.
They already suffered the disappointment of missing out – for the first time – on a place in next year’s ICC Champions Trophy after failing to tie down a top-eight spot by last year’s cut-off date of September 30.
The Caribbean side is currently four points behind seventh-place Bangladesh and seven adrift sixth-place Sri Lanka. However, if the Bangladeshis can sweep their upcoming three-match series against minnows Afghanistan and then beat England in a similar three-match rubber following, they will move up to an unprecedented sixth spot in the rankings.