Dubai, Feb 1 (IANS): Following their 2-0 One-Day International (ODI) series win over Pakistan which helped them gain a place in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings, New Zealand will look for further improvement when they face Australia in a three-match series starting in Auckland on Wednesday. Third ranked New Zealand are on 112 points and trail World Champions and No.1 ranked Australia by 16 points.
A 3-0 series win will lift the Black Caps to 115 points while a 2-1 win will take them to 114 points. In contrast, if they lose 0-3, then they will slip to 110 points whereas a 1-2 series loss will mean both sides will retain their pre-series points. Australia, in contrast, will retain their No.1 position irrespective of how the series pans out. They will rise to as high as 130 points if they win the series 3-0 but will drop to 124 points if New Zealand win all three matches. Fourth ranked South Africa and sixth ranked England will keep an eye on the series in New Zealand as they too have an opportunity to move up the ladder when their series also starts on February 3 in Bloemfontein. A 5-0 win for the home side will mean they will rise to 115 points while England will drop to 98. However, if the series result is reversed, then England will move to 106 points with Proteas finishing just a point ahead on 107. If England win the series 3-2, then they will earn one point while South Africa will concede two points. A 3-2 series win for South Africa will mean both sides will retain their pre-series points. Meanwhile, Proteas captain AB de Villiers will start the forthcoming series as the No.1 ranked ODI batsman. His teammate Hashim Amla is third, 124 points behind. New Zealand's Trent Boult will start off as the No.1 ranked bowler with South Africa's Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in fourth, fifth and sixth positions, respectively. In the absence of Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner is the highest ranked Australia bowler in the 28th spot. Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh is the No.1 ranked all-rounder while Glenn Maxwell is fourth - 13 points behind Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan.