Back in January 5, 1971, England and Australia locked horns in the first ever ODI at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The 50-overs format of cricket has come a long way ever since with the World Cup taking place every four years.
Though the West Indies ruled the roost in the formative years of ODI cricket, it has been Australia, who are the most successful, having five World titles to their name. It’s England, who are currently the ICC’s number-one ranked ODI team. The Brits are also the World champions after the dramatic final against New Zealand at the renowned Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Meanwhile, most teams, at some point of their journey, have weaved magic in the ODI format. Not only did they reach to the top, but also held their position for a significant amount of time.
In the article let’s take a look at the five teams that held the number one ODI ranking for the longest time: –
1. India- 12 months
From January 2013 to December 2013, India had their longest streak at the helm in ODIs. During this phase, the Men in Blue played 32 matches and won 22 with a win-percentage of 68.75. The team, led by MS Dhoni, started with a series defeat at the hands of Pakistan, but came to beat England.
India also went on to emerge victorious in the 2013 Champions Trophy, beating the Brits in the final. Then they went on to get the better of the West Indies and Zimbabwe in bilateral series. Dhoni’s men then turned over Australia by 3-2 at home.
Rohit Sharma’s 209 in Bengaluru sealed the fate of the series. India followed it up with a 2-1 win versus the Caribbeans. But, the year didn’t end on a grand note for them as South Africa beat them by 141 and 134 runs in Johannesburg and Durban respectively.
2. England- 14 months
Back in May 2018, England leapfrogged India to the top of the ODI rankings. From there on, the Three Lions showed sheer dominance. In the next 14 months, they played 30 matches and won 22 of them at a percentage of 73.33.
Scotland upset them back in June 2018 in Edinburgh, but Eoin Morgan’s men stepped on the gas soon after. The Englishmen also walloped Australia 5-0. England also won 2-1 against India after losing the series opener in Nottingham. They only missed in the ODI series versus the West Indies that was tied at 2-2.
England managed to live up to the tag of favourites in the 2019 World Cup, winning the championship for the maiden occasion. During the mega event, India toppled them to the top, but the Three Lions got their top position back pretty quickly.
3. South Africa- 46 months
From May 1996 to February 2000, South Africa dominated ODI cricket more than anyone else. The only blot during this phase was the 1999 World Cup semis where they fell short in the semis against eventual champions Australia.
However, during this phase, the Proteas played 88 matches and won 66 games with a win percentage as high as 75. Opponents found it mightily tough to beat them. England and India were the teams they managed to brush aside comprehensively. Out of 23 matches against the oppositions, South Africa won 17 of them.
The Aussies were the most competitive against them, winning eight out of 19 matches. In the 46 months, the Proteas played 36 matches at home. There they won 27 games. It was only during the latter part of the year when Proteas cricket faced challenges.
4. Australia- 52 months
Australia was the team to beat in the 2000s. From October 2002 to January 2007, there were a handful of sides, who had gotten under their skins. During this while, Australia won 99 out of the 123 completed matches with a win percentage of 80.49.
In 2003, Ricky Ponting led his team to World Cup glory in the African continent. Ponting scored a ton against India in the final in Johannesburg. From January 11, 2003 to May 24, 2003, Australia won a stunning 21 matches on the trot, including the unbeaten run in the World Cup.
In this phase, West Indies and Sri Lanka beat them five times each. Barring them, every other team bore the brunt of the Aussies. Before the 2007 World Cup, the Proteas dethroned them, but that didn’t stop Australia from winning the event in the West Indies.
5. West Indies- 65 months
West Indies dominated world cricket when Clive Lloyd was at the helm in their cricket. The Caribbean team won the 1975 and 1979 World Cup. Even in 1983, they progressed to the final, but India, against all odds, defeated them at the Lord’s.
From January 1992 to May 1987, the West Indies were at the top. During this phase, they won 76 matches out of the 98 games which produced results. They played the highest number of games (34) against Australia and won 26 of them while losing only seven.
The West Indies also dominated India and Pakistan, winning a combined tally of 26 matches out of 35. At home, they won 13 out of the 16 contests. One team they found tough to beat was England. Against the Three Lions, the Caribbeans could muster six victories and lost as many.
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