March 25, 2003

Australia increases lead in ODI standings

AAP

SYDNEY, March 25 AAP - Australia's unbeaten run on the way to retaining the cricket World Cup has extended its lead at the top of the ICC's one-day championship table.

At the end of 2002, Australia's rating was only five points higher than its closest rival South Africa but an unprecedented run of 17 consecutive victories has opened up a record gap of 13 points.

It's rating of 136 - four more than it was at the start of the tournament - is the highest ranking recorded since the International Cricket Council launched the championship six months ago.

As well as taking home the World Cup trophy, Australia also retains the ICC Championship Shield that Ricky Ponting first collected at the Sydney Cricket Ground last December.

India was unable to match Australia at the Wanderers but its progress to the final helped boost its rating by four, pulling Sourav Ganguly's team away from West Indies, New Zealand and England into clear fifth place.

With Pakistan (third) and Sri Lanka (fourth) both losing ground, India has moved to within striking distance of third place.

Kenya was the biggest beneficiary from the tournament, increasing its rating by 10.

With victories over Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the Kenyans have open up a gap of 24 ratings points from Bangladesh at the bottom of the table.

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