South Africa faces a tough challenge to retain its second place in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table as it hosts Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series starting in Potchefstroom from Friday.
The Proteas currently sit in second place on 118 ratings points and to maintain that position, they will have to win the series 3-0 (barring any matches being rained-off).
As South Africa enters the series leading Bangladesh by 71 rating points, it is expected to win convincingly and so failure to win all the ODIs would cost it heavily.
Defeat in one match would cost it two ratings points and would drop it to 116 and third place behind England when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
If Bangladesh wins the series 2-1, South Africa will slip to 112 ratings points and fifth in the championship table behind Australia, England, New Zealand and India, and just ahead of sixth-placed Pakistan which goes head to head with the West Indies in a three-match ODI series in Abu Dhabi from next Wednesday.
In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, South Africa boasts three players in the top 20 – captain Graeme Smith (third), AB de Villers (17th) and Jacques Kallis (19th) – while Tamim Iqbal (40th) and Shakibul Hasan (43rd) are the two Bangladesh batsmen in the top 50. Smith is fighting to overcome an elbow injury which sidelined him from the two-match ODI series against Kenya and the Twenty20 International (T20I) against Bangladesh on Wednesday. If he returns in this series, he will be eyeing at least second place which is currently held by Mike Hussey of Australia.
No bowler from either side figures in the top 20 of the ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers but Bangladesh’s left-arm spinners Shakibul Hasan (23rd), Abdur Razzak (27th) and fast bowler Syed Rasel (33rd) are in the top 40.
Johan Botha is the highest-ranked South Africa bowler in the named squad in 48th position and he will be aiming for an upward movement along with Kallis (53rd), Albie Morkel (67th), Morne Morkel (69th) and Dale Steyn (93rd).
In the ICC Player Rankings for all-rounders, Kallis climbed to fourth place earlier this week following a good series against Kenya and he can leapfrog at least Pakistan’s third-placed Shoaib Malik with another good series.