Bengaluru, Jan 12: Former world champions Pakistan have set sights on a direct qualification for the ICC World Cup 2019 when they face Australia in a 5-ODI series starting in Brisbane tomorrow (January 13).
Pakistan are presently in serious danger of failing to qualify directly for the ICC's pinnacle 50-over tournament in the United Kingdom as they sit in 8th position on 89 points - 2 behind Bangladesh and two ahead of the West Indies, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a media release.
Hosts England and the 7 highest-ranked sides on the ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 will qualify directly for the event proper to be held from 30 May to 15 July 2019.
The 4 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 their pre-series ranking points, Pakistan need to win one match of the series, while victories in more than one match will earn it crucial points.
If Pakistan win 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 their pre-series points if they win the series 4-1, while they will concede one point if they win 3-2.
Reigning world champions 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 lead Pakistan 33-16 on a head-to-head in their backyard, including 15 wins in 19 ODIs this decade, this looks highly improbable.
ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 11 January, before the start of Australia Vs Pakistan and India Vs England series)
(Read as Rank, Team, Points)
1. Australia 120
2. South Africa 116
3. India 111
4. New Zealand 111
5. England 107
6. Sri Lanka 101
7. Bangladesh 91
8. Pakistan 89
9. West Indies 87
10. Afghanistan 52
11. Zimbabwe 47
12. Ireland 42
Australia Vs Pakistan ODI series schedule
13 January (Friday) - 1st ODI, Brisbane
15 Jan (Sunday) - 2nd ODI, Melbourne
19 Jan (Thursday) - 3rd ODI, Perth
22 Jan (Sunday) - 4th ODI, Sydney
26 Jan (Thursday) - 5th ODI, Adelaide