Kevin Pietersen has become only the third England batsman to top the ICC ODI player rankings, after his solid start to the World Cup. Pietersen made half-centuries against New Zealand and Kenya to take a narrow four-point lead from Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.
He is the first England player to head the list since Marcus Trescothick, who had a brief one-match stay there in 2005. Allan Lamb was the only other England batsman to achieve the feat and that was in 1989.
The success of Australia's top order has cost Hussey, who dropped from No. 1 down to third spot. The earliest Hussey has made his way to the crease in the first three matches was in the 44th over against Scotland, and he has not yet reached double-figures.
Shaun Pollock remains a long way ahead of the pack in the bowling rankings, despite his costly performance against Australia. Shane Bond and Muttiah Muralitharan shot to equal second from seventh and ninth places respectively.
South Africa need only to beat Sri Lanka on Wednesday to secure top position in the team rankings for the April 1 cut-off date, when the No. 1 side is awarded US$175,000. Australia could overtake South Africa, however, if results fall their way.