New Delhi, Nov 5 (UNI) There is lot at stake for India and Pakistan, two of cricket's biggest rivals, as they go head-to-head in a five-match ODI series from today.
A heavy defeat for either side will send it plummeting down the LG ICC ODI Championship table, as India could drop as low as seventh and Pakistan as low as eighth position.
But, conversely, if one of the line-ups can secure a substantial success then it will close the gap to the top three sides in the ladder, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Host India is currently placed fifth in the table, on the same number of rating points as fourth-placed Pakistan but trailing when those points are calculated to three decimal places.
However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team could move above its opponents and within one point of third-placed New Zealand if it secured a 5-0 clean sweep in the series. That, in turn, would see Pakistan slip four spots to eighth ahead of only Bangladesh, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
A 4-1 victory for India would carry it to 111 points, three behind the Black Caps and drop Shoaib Malik's side to seventh, on 104 points, just two ahead of the West Indies.
Pakistan, meanwhile, will be able to cement its fourth place in the ICC ODI Championship table with a 3-2 series win, something that would lift it to 111 rating points while dropping India to sixth position, below Sri Lanka.
If Pakistan wins the series 4-1 it will move to 114 points and find itself above New Zealand, in third place, while India will drop to seventh spot, below England. A 5-0 clean sweep for the visitors will lift Pakistan to 117 points, also in third position and just six rating points behind South Africa, while India will find itself in seventh position.
There is just two rating points separating fourth-placed Pakistan from England, in the seventh position.
The picture is, however, much clearer at the top of the table, where world champions Australia is five points clear of South Africa, with New Zealand a further nine points further back in third spot.
In the batting list Pakistan has the top-ranked player among the two sides in Mohammad Yousuf, the player of the series in the recent clash with South Africa.
However, he is Pakistan's only representative inside the top 20 while India has three players in the same elite group, Sachin Tendulkar in tenth position, followed by Yuvraj Singh in 17th spot and captain Dhoni one place further back.
In the bowling list there is only one player from either side in the top 20, Pakistan's leg-spinning all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who occupies joint 15th slot alongside James Anderson of England.
Just outside the batting top 20 lies India's former captain Rahul Dravid in 23rd position, while for Pakistan Malik, in 25th spot, and Younus Khan, down in 36th place, will be anxious for solid series to boost their rankings.
India's Zaheer Khan lies just beyond the top 20 bowling slots, in 25th position, while further down the list and capable of making rapid strides towards the elite group are Rao Iftikhar Anjum of Pakistan (29th) and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (30th) with left-armer Irfan Pathan taking the 36th position.
The recalled Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar lies in 41st position while much is expected from Umar Gul (43rd) in the absence of the injured Mohammad Asif.
The top of the ICC player rankings for ODI batsmen is dominated by Australia with Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden occupying the first three slots in the table.
The bowling list has a different look to it with Shaun Pollock of South Africa heading the ladder, clear of New Zealand's Shane Bond, Nathan Bracken of Australia, and the Sri Lanka duo of left-armer Chaminda Vaas and talismanic spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Pollock also tops the all-rounders' list, with West Indies Chris Gayle and Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya taking the second and third spots respectively.