Mithali Raj regains top spot after Meg Lanning misses series due to injury; Knight, Healy, Hartley and Schutt among players to attain career-best rankings.
Defending champions Australia’s 2-1 victory over England in the ICC Women’s Championship series has not only helped them garner four useful points but also regain the top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Team Rankings.
Australia opened the series with a two-wicket win in Brisbane and increased the lead with a 75-run victory on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in Coffs Harbour before England won the final match by 20 runs at the same venue, also by the DLS method.
England had displaced Australia from the top ranking for the first time after the annual update earlier this month, starting the series ahead on decimal points with both teams on 128 points. But Australia made the most of the home conditions to prevail despite the absence of first-choice captain and leading batter Meg Lanning, going up to 129 points and ensuring a two-point lead in the process.
Teams get two points for each win, one point for a tie or no-result and no points for a loss in the ICC Women’s Championship, which will see ICC Women’s World Cup 2021 hosts New Zealand and the three other top teams gain direct qualification to ICC’s pinnacle women’s 50-over event.
The remaining four sides will get a second chance through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier event. India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Windies are the other sides in the ICC Women’s Championship, which runs till 2020.
In the first series of the ICC Women’s Championship, the Windies completed a 3-0 triumph over Sri Lanka to notch a full six points and lead the points table, Pakistan go head to head with New Zealand from Tuesday, while South Africa will play at home against India from 5 to 10 February 2018.
Australia captain Rachael Haynes was happy to secure four points from the high-profile series but did not expect an easy road ahead, especially playing in India later in the championship.