The Shahid Afridi-led Pakistan cricket team is geared to defend its second position in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Twenty20 rankings when they take on England in a three-match series starting tommorow in the UAE.
Pakistan bagged the Test series 2-0 under Misbahul Haq’s captaincy, while England beat Azhar Ali and co 3-1 in the ODIs. The T20 series will announce the ultimate winner in the tour.
Pakistan are 14 points ahead of the eighth-placed England which means Afridi must lead the team to victory to ensure that they stay put on the second position. Sri Lanka is on top of the table right now as the reigning world champions.
If Pakistan beat England 2-1, then both sides will remain as they are on the rankings table. However, if England beat Pakistan 2-1 then Eoin Morgan-led T20 side will jump up to the sixth position and Afridi and his men will drop down to fourth.
In another case, if Pakistan win 3-0 they will join Sri Lanka on top of the points table with 125 points but will still remain on the second position by a fraction of a point.
Meanwhile, if England beat Pakistan 3-0 then the men in green will drop down to the sixth position and England will jump up to the fourth position.
In the ICC Player Rankings for T20I Batsmen, England’s Alex Hales will start off as the highest-ranked batsman from either side in third position. The 26-year-old Nottinghamshire batsman trails India’s Virat Kohli in second place by four, and number-one ranked Aaron Finch by 13 points.
Captain Eoin Morgan (eighth) and Jos Buttler (47th) are the other England batsmen to feature inside the top 50.
Pakistan has no batsman inside the top 10 but in Ahmed Shehzad (14th), Umar Akmal (16th), Mohammad Hafeez (24th) and Shahid Afridi (35th), it boasts four batsmen inside the top 50.
In the ICC Player Rankings for T20I Bowlers, England has no bowler inside the top 75, while Pakistan has four bowlers inside the top 75. These include Shahid Afridi (ninth), Sohail Tanvir (16th), Shoaib Malik (68th) and Mohammad Irfan (75th).
Sunil Narine leads the bowlers’ table, which also includes his West Indies team-mate Samuel Badree in second spot and Sachithra Senanayake of Sri Lanka in third place.
Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh is on top of the all-rounders’ category, but Pakistan’s duo of Hafeez and Shahid are within striking distance. Second-ranked Hafeez trails Shakib by 47 points, while Shahid is another four points behind.
The next T20I player rankings will be released on 1 December.