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Babar Azam vaults to third place in ICC rankings
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Babar Azam vaults to third place in ICC rankings

Pakistan's World Cup journey may have concluded in the first round but star batsman Babar Azam experienced a spectacular tournament with the bat exhibiting great consistency.

Babar's tally of 474 runs at an average of 67.71 in the World Cup has allowed him to move up four spots in the ICC ODI Player Rankings, just one position behind his career-high second place accomplished last year.

Babar came into his own as the tournament progressed as he churned out four fifty-plus scores in eight innings.

The highlight of his debut World Cup probably came during the must-win game against New Zealand, where he struck an unbeaten century to guide his team to victory on a tricky surface.

Meanwhile, Indian captain Virat Kohli clings onto his number one ranking after an exuberant display of batting has seen him register five half-centuries in the tournament already.

But his teammate Rohit Sharma has narrowed the gap which existed between the two individuals as the second-placed batsman trails his skipper by a meager six points.

Sharma's surge in the number of points comes at the back of a record-breaking five centuries in a single edition of a World Cup.

Other notable movements in the rankings include Australia opening batsman David Warner making a comeback into the top ten at the sixth position after spending a year away from international cricket owing to the ball-tampering saga.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has been scoring the bulk of the runs for his side and he was rewarded with a promotion to the number eight slot, witnessing a rise of four places while leader of the South African side Faf du Plessis has also moved up two spots to fill in the fourth position.

The most dramatic advancement has been made by the West Indies' Nicholas Pooran who broke into the top 100 from outside the 400 ranked batsmen. Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando also deserves a special mention for vaulting up 110 places to occupy the 85th place in the rankings.

India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah remains the top ODI bowler as he has been able to enlarge the distance from the second-placed Trent Boult who himself had an exceptional group stage in the tournament including a hat-trick against Trans-Tasman rivals Australia.

Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and Rashid Khan are still ranked in the top 10 despite their team losing all the World Cup matches but the duo's places have seen a shift.

Leading wicket-taker of the tournament Mitchell Starc jumped a whopping 15 spots to reach the number seven position and Pakistan's teenage pace sensation Shaheen Afridi soared 34 places upwards in the rankings.

Shakib Al Hasan had a stellar World Cup even though his team was knocked out of the tournament at the conclusion of the league phase and he has reestablished his dominance as the world's best all-rounder in the rankings update, followed by England's Ben Stokes.

There has not been much development in the team rankings except England's hold over the number one position has weakened with India trailing in merely decimal points. Similarly, New Zealand and Australia are right next to each other at third and fourth respectively possessing an equal number of points.