Back-to-back hundreds by Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman during the present series against New Zealand have propelled him to second place in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) latest One Day International (ODI) rankings.
In the most recent rankings, Zaman surged eight ranks to second, trailing skipper Babar Azam.
“Fakhar has scored three ODI centuries in a row, rising to a career-best rating of 784 rating points and becoming the closest challenger to his skipper despite trailing by 103 rating points,” the ICC said in a statement.
“It means Pakistan now has three players in the top five on the latest ODI batting charts ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup later this year, with Imam-ul-Haq remaining in fifth place behind his two teammates, South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen, and India’s Shubman Gill,” it added.
It should be remembered that Zaman hit his third consecutive century to lead Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory against New Zealand in the second One-Day International on Saturday.
The 33-year-old left-handed opener scored his tenth ODI century with an unbeaten 180 off 144 balls.
It came on the heels of his 117 in the first match and 101 against the same opponents in January, as Pakistan chased a 337-run target in 48.2 overs.
He became the 12th hitter in history and the fourth Pakistani, behind Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, and Babar Azam (twice), to score three straight ODI tons.
Pakistan now leads the five-match series 2-0, with the final three matches taking place in Karachi on May 3, 5, and 7.
“It was my lucky day to score again against New Zealand because I got chances,” Zaman explained.
“I try to take my time at the start, and then with five players in the circle, it becomes easier to score.”
Zaman also became the fastest Asian batsman in ODI history to reach 3,000 runs, doing so in 67 innings. Babar Azam previously held the record with 68 innings.