Qantas Tour of NZ 2018

Australia have No.1 ranking in their sights

David Warner's team can jump into top spot if results go their way in the next week

Martin Smith

16 February 2018, 10:20 AM AEST

The vagaries of the ICC's T20 rankings can be laid out by the fact Australia, perennial strugglers in the format, could be the No.1 team in the world for the very first time in less than a week from now.

A fortnight ago, the Australians started the current T20 tri-series as the world No.7 with 111 ranking points, 15 points behind No.1 Pakistan.

Three consecutive wins has seen them gain 10 points and jump to fourth spot and they could pick up another two points, and two more places in the rankings, if they beat New Zealand tonight at Eden Park.

Victory in Auckland and another win in the tri-series final on Wednesday will see them draw level with Pakistan on 126 points, but the Aussies would claim the No.1 ranking by a fraction of a point on countback.

Match wrap: Australia cruise into tri-series final

And they will stay there even if India, currently ranked third, whitewash South Africa in their three-match series later this month.

If Australia do win their next two matches to claim top spot, it will be the first time they've reached the summit of the T20 rankings since they were first introduced in 2011.

Among the 10 Test-playing nations, only Australia, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have never held the No.1 T20 ranking.

The sudden rankings shift can be explained by the dearth of T20 internationals played compared to other formats, particularly in years when the quadrennial World T20 tournament is not played.

Ponting re-lives Australia's first-ever T20 match

But it's nonetheless a significant change in fortunes for the Australian side under stand-in captain David Warner, who earlier this month had lamented their lowly ranking. 

"It doesn't sit well with us at all," he said.

"We've probably said it for the last 12-24 months about improving … how we play this format.

"We've spoken about scheduling numerous times and being able to fit the Twenty20 Internationals into the calendar and getting everyone fit and ready for that."

The Aussies are currently ranked third in Test cricket and fifth in one-day internationals.

Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series

First T20I Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets. Scorecard

Second T20I Australia beat England by five wickets. Scorecard

Third T20I Australia beat England by seven wickets. Scorecard

Fourth T20I New Zealand beat England by 12 runs. Scorecard

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.