India’s Smriti Mandhana moves up to 4th in ICC Women’s ODI batting rankings

It was a significant week for Smriti Mandhana, India’s prolific vice-captain, as she ascended two spots in the prestigious International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings for Women’s One Day International (ODI) batters. This rise comes despite Mandhana not having the opportunity to participate in any ODI matches for the past month. Nevertheless, the recent Australia-South Africa ODI series had a ripple effect, which saw Mandhana’s ratings benefit from Laura Wolvaardt’s lackluster performance during the competition.

The South African skipper Wolvaardt experienced a slump in form across the three matches, scoring an uncharacteristic total of just seven runs, inclusive of a duck. This unfortunate turn of events led her to drop from fourth to sixth place in the rankings, allowing Mandhana to ascend to the fourth spot as they traded ranks in the latest update from the ICC for the 50-over format.

However, this was far from the only noteworthy change in the batting rankings. Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner faced a slide down the list by three positions to 22nd, following scores of 35 and 1 in her last two ODIs against South Africa. Tahlia McGrath, another Australian star, encountered a more favorable trajectory, moving up four places to 30th in the standings after contributing 22 and an unbeaten 44 in the closing games of the series.

The bowlers also witnessed significant shakeups in their pecking order. South African star Marizanne Kapp was the standout performer and beneficiary of the latest changes, surging seven places to claim the No.2 ranking spot in the world. This resulted in a shuffle within the top 10, as Kapp’s compatriot Ayabonga Khaka dropped to joint-eighth position, sharing the spot with Australia’s Jess Jonassen, who also descended by three places.

Ashleigh Gardner’s ranking wasn’t just affected in batting; she also took a three-place dip in the bowling rankings, landing at seventh. This downward movement for several players heralded an opportunity for others, such as England’s Kate Cross and West Indian Hayley Matthews, both of whom climbed two places to hold the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. This dance of positions reflects the ever-evolving landscape of women’s international cricket, with performances in one series having the potential to cause a domino effect across the rankings.

Away from the individual player rankings, attention is swiftly shifting to the upcoming activities for teams and players. While the Australians and South Africans prepare for an inaugural Test match at the WACA in Perth this week, players from other nations are gearing up for the start of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). The WPL is setting the stage for its 2024 edition, with the action-packed tournament scheduled to commence on February 23 in Bengaluru, India.

There’s much anticipation for the second edition of the WPL, as it aims to build on its inaugural success and continue to provide a platform for showcasing the world’s best female cricketers. Fans are eager to see their favorite stars, like Mandhana, back in action, vying for supremacy on the world stage. This anticipation underscores the growing stature and significance of women’s cricket on the global sports landscape.

As the cricketing calendar fills with such high-profile events, rankings like those of the ICC serve as a continual reminder of the dynamic nature of the sport and its stars.Individual performances may shift from game to game, but it is the persistent excellence and resilience that elevates players like Smriti Mandhana, ensuring their ascension in the eyes of cricket enthusiasts worldwide.

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