India vs Australia: Kohli & Smith's Men Battle For ICC ODI Ranking Top Spot
Since the turn of the century, the rivalry between India and Australia has outshone any other battle on a cricket field. The India vs Pakistan contest is dying a slow death due to lack of matches between the two teams, owing to political tensions, and India's growing dominance over Pakistan. Australia's traditional rivalry with England has also not generated the same amount of passion and emotion, both on and off the pitch, that an Indo-Australian clash commands these days.
So, when the 'Yellow brigade' locks horn with Virat Kohli's men in the five-match ODI series, it will be a battle for supremacy in the 50-over format. South Africa are currently the top ranked ODI team in the world, but their dismal track record in big tournaments mean they don't have the proverbial bragging rights in this format.
Australia, placed second in the standings, are the current world champions of the format. On the other hand India, placed third, reached the final of ICC Champions Trophy recently and have been a force to reckon with in ODIs since their 2011 ICC World Cup triumph.
And both these teams will have a crack at the summit of the ICC ODI rankings during the upcoming series. A victory margin of 4-1 or 5-0 for either team would see them topple the Proteas and move into the top slot, an opportunity that the young captains, Kohli & Smith, wouldn't want to let go of.
On the basis of head-to-head, Australia hold an edge both in the overall numbers and in matches played on Indian soil.
Total ODIs = 123
Australia won = 71
India won = 41
Tied = 0
NR = 11
In India = 52
Australia won = 25
India won = 21
Tied = 0
NR = 6.
In Australia = 47
Australia won = 34
India won = 11
Tied = 0
NR = 2
But this Indian team has been on a roll since the beginning of the year and look in perfect shape to improve their numbers against the mighty Australians.
Here are the scenarios for both teams in terms of how the series result could affect their ranking:
India beats Australia 5-0? India 122, Australia 113
India beats Australia 4-1? India 120, Australia 114
India beats Australia 3-2? India 118, Australia 116
Australia beats India 3-2? Australia 118, India 116
Australia beats India 4-1? Australia 120, India 114
Australia beats India 5-0? Australia 122, India 112
India won the bilateral ODI series between the two teams, when they faced off on Indian soil the last time. The Aussies though thrashed India 4-1 at the beginning of 2016 when India had toured down under. The stakes are high and both the teams are ready to put in their best efforts to come out on top.
India holds a slight edge going into the contest due to their form at home. The absence of Australia's premier pace bowling duo, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, also tilts the balance in favour of the 'Men in Blue'.