Babar Azam extends lead

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam has increased his lead as the top ranked ODI batter in the world as a pair of New Zealand players made giant strides in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Player Rankings.

Babar scored a superb 74 during Pakistan’s narrow 16-run victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday, and this helped him put further ground on his closest pursuers at the head of the ODI rankings.

The ICC revealed their latest set of Men’s rankings on Wednesday and Babar’s reign at the top of the ODI charts looks like continuing if the current trend continues.

Babar has been at the top of the ODI batter rankings since he overtook former India skipper Virat Kohli in April last year, and his lead at the top has now increased to 91 rating points after the latest update.

The Pakistan captain has a total of 891 rating points, with team-mate Imam-ul-Haq his closest challenger on 800 rating points after the opener managed just two against the Netherlands.

Babar also remains on top of the latest T20I batter rankings, although New Zealand opener Devon Conway closes in on the Pakistan star after an impressive series against the West Indies.

Conway was the second leading run-scorer for the series with 106 runs and that helped him rise one spot to seventh on the T20I batter rankings.

There was more joy for New Zealand players on the updated rankings, with star all-rounder Mitchell Santner improving nine spots to eighth overall on the T20I rankings for bowlers.

Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood remains on top of that list, but a host of players are lining up inside the top 10 trying to overhaul the tall right-armer.

Hazlewood also improves a spot to third on the latest rankings for ODI bowlers, with Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi dropping two spots to fifth after he missed the opening match against the Netherlands.

The biggest mover on the ODI bowler rankings is Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who moves up six places to equal 10th overall.

Mustafizur finished as the joint leading wicket-taker during Bangladesh’s recent series against Zimbabwe and the 26-year-old was rewarded with big leap inside the top 10.

(ICC)