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South Africa and Australia have retained the top two positions on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings following the 1 May annual update. Bangladesh has surrendered one point and is now on 91 points, but its gap over eighth-ranked Pakistan has increased from two points to three.

Bangladesh have consolidated their position at seventh in the ODI rankings raising hopes for earning a direct berth into the 2019 World Cup.

The Tigers (91) lost a point in the rankings, but closely trail sixth-placed Sri Lanka (93) who dropped five points in ICC’s annual update published on Monday, after their home series against Bangladesh ended in a 1-1 tie.

Pakistan (88) lost two points but retained eighth position, followed by the West Indies (79) who dropped four points.

South Africa still lead the rankings with 123 points with world champions Australia (118) second.

India (117) overtook New Zealand (115) for the third place while England (109) were fifth.

Hosts England and other top seven teams will qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup. The cut-off date for qualification is Sep 30.

The two remaining berths will be decided through qualifiers.

It means every forthcoming game is crucial for the teams ranked in the bottom half of the ranking table.

Bangladesh will take on Ireland and New Zealand in a tri-nation series, where losing to the lower-ranked Irish team will be costlier than defeat against the Black Caps.

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