Pakistan sets sights on direct qualification for World Cup
LAHORE: With holding of the ICC Test Championship mace an event of the distant past, former world champion Pakistan sets its sights on direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 when it takes on the in-form reigning world champion and number-one ranked Australia in a five-ODI series starting in Brisbane on Friday.
Pakistan is presently in serious danger of failing to qualify directly for the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over tournament in the United Kingdom as it is sitting in the eighth position on 89 points, two behind Bangladesh and two ahead of the West Indies, said the information provided by International Cricket Council here on Wednesday.
Host England and the seven highest-ranked sides on the ICC team ranking as on September 30, 2017 will qualify directly for the event proper to be held from May 30 to July 15, 2019.
The four bottom-ranked sides will be joined by six teams from the ICC World Cricket League in the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 and the top two sides will complete the 10-team World Cup line-up.
To, at least, maintain its pre-series ranking points, Pakistan needs to win one match of the series, while victories in more than one match will earn it crucial points.
If Pakistan wins two matches, then it will join Bangladesh on 91 points but will be ranked behind its Asian rivals by a fraction.
In the scenario of Pakistan winning the series, it will move ahead of Bangladesh and, as such, will enhance its chances of qualifying directly for the event it won in Australia in 1992.
On the other side of the coin, Australia will retain its pre-series points if it wins the series 4-1, while it will concede one point, if it wins 3-2.
Australia can fall from the top pedestal, but to make it happen, Pakistan will have to win by 4-1 or better. However, considering that Australia leads Pakistan 33-16 on a head-to-head in its backyard, including 15 wins in 19 ODIs this decade, this looks highly improbable.