BLACKCAPS continue rankings rise

The BLACKCAPS’ success against the West Indies has propelled them back into the top three of LG ICC One-Day International Rankings.

And their rapid progress could yet continue if they claim a clean sweep of the National Bank Series.

A 5-0 success would lift them to 116 rating points, and a comprehensive series victory for Australia in South Africa would see them leap-frog the Proteas into second position behind the world champions.

And the team’s form has also seen upward momentum in the player rankings.

Shane Bond has moved into the top five in the LG ICC Player Rankings for the first time in his career.

Having fought back from a serious back injury this season, Bond has risen five places through the course of the first three National Bank Series ODIs.

He is now in fourth place with his best-ever haul of rating points (745), one place ahead of his team-mate Daniel Vettori,

Stephen Fleming remains the team’s highest-ranked batsmen, in 29th position, but Nathan Astle’s strong recent performance has seen him rise again in the rankings and is now just one place behind the captain.

The BLACKCAPS’ form has all but assured them an automatic place in this year’s ICC Champions Trophy in India, which begins the World Cup countdown in November.

LG ICC ODI Championship (after Bangladesh v Sri Lanka series)
1 Australia 135
2 South Africa 116
3 New Zealand 114
4 India 113
5 Pakistan 112
6 England 108
7 Sri Lanka 107
8 West Indies 87
9 Zimbabwe 45
10 Bangladesh 17

* India, as hosts, will automatically qualify for the second stage of next year’s ICC Champions Trophy even if they are outside the top six of the LG ICC ODI Championship table on  April 1 2006.  If they are outside that top six then the sixth-placed side in the table will take part in the preliminary round.

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