South Africa on top of the ODI world

South Africa dethroned Australia as the number one ODI team in the world but Ricky Ponting's men have a chance to regain the top spot against New Zealand.

updated: January 30, 2009 15:17 IST
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South Africa on Friday dethroned Australia as the number one one-day cricket team in the world but Ricky Ponting's men have immediate chance to regain the top slot in the forthcoming home series against New Zealand.

The fifth and final match on Friday may have been a dead rubber as far as the series was concerned with South Africa having already won three out of the previous four matches but there was still plenty at stake and Johan Botha can now claim to be captain of the highest-ranked side in the world.

The Proteas had been three ratings points behind Ponting's men going into the fifth and final ODI of the series but now they move ahead by a fraction of a point and top the ladder for the first time since April 2008 when they briefly wrested the number-one spot from Australia.

But the good news for Australia is that it has an immediate opportunity to go back on top as its five-match series against New Zealand begins on Sunday.

The table is so tight at the top that victory in that first ODI will send Australia right back to where it has spent the vast majority of the past seven years since the rankings were devised, according to an ICC release.

Meanwhile, India is hovering just outside the top two and is now just five rating points behind South Africa and Australia after winning the first match of a five-ODI series in Sri Lanka. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will be doing their best to keep the pressure on the top two with plenty of ODI cricket coming up on the horizon.

ICC ODI Championship: 1. South Africa (125) 2. Australia (125) 3. India (120) 4. New Zealand (113) 5. Pakistan (111) 6. England (108) 7. Sri Lanka (106) 8. West Indies (91) 9. Bangladesh (46) 10. Zimbabwe (20) 11. Ireland (19) 12. Kenya.