South Africa regained the top rank in One-Day Internationals on Friday (February 10), after their 5-0 sweep of Sri Lanka, ascending to No.1 for the first time since November 2014.

Australia’s 2-0 defeat in the New Zealand-leg of the Chappell-Hadlee series coupled with South Africa’s demolition act closed the four-point gap the two teams had before the five-match ODI series began.

“We are excited to be back at the top of the ICC ODI Team Rankings. We have had some trials since the World Cup two years ago but have worked hard to rebuild and to gain some form and consistency in this format,” said de Villiers of the achievement.

This is the first time South Africa has gained the top spot in ODI rankings in more than two years. Since the rankings were introduced, it has occupied this spot five times now – earlier, in the period February 2007, in March-May 2008, in January-August 2009, and October-November, 2014.

To retain the position, South Africa will have to defeat New Zealand in the ODI series between the two teams that commences later this month. If New Zealand emerges the winner, South Africa will move back behind Australia to No. 2.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka remained on No. 6 in the table, though they dropped three points following the 5-0 whitewash. They are now on 98 points, just seven ahead of the seventh-ranked Bangladesh side, who have a narrow two-point advantage over the eighth-ranked Pakistan team.

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