NZ loss assures South Africa of top spot

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> New Zealand's defeat against Australia in the 4th ODI assured South Africa of $175,000 as the Proteas now cannot be caught at the top of the ICC rankings.

Updated: February 11, 2009 18:48 IST
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New Zealand's defeat against Australia in the fourth match on Tuesday assured South Africa of $175,000 as the Proteas now cannot be caught at the top of the ICC ODI Championship table before the cut-off date of April 1.

Prior to New Zealand's match against Australia in Adelaide on Tuesday, only the Kiwis had the chance of overtaking the Proteas before the cut-off date but the six-wicket defeat means even if Daniel Vettori's men were to win the remaining ODI in this series and then beat India 5-0 next month, they would still fall short of South Africa's current rating of 125.

On the current schedule of ODIs, no other side can match South Africa and with the Proteas themselves not playing any match before April 1, they will not be budging from the rating they enjoy.

Each year, the side that leads the listing on April 1 becomes richer by $175,000 while the runner-up collects $75,000. Apart from the cash, South Africa will also be presented the ICC ODI Championship shield.

Meanwhile, Australia has consolidated its position on the chart in the second position following Tuesday's victory while New Zealand stays in fourth place, six rating points behind India, which is in the third spot.

However, both India and New Zealand have the opportunity to topple Australia from the second spot, depending on the result of the final ODI between the Aussies and the Kiwis in Brisbane and then on the results of the five matches between Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men and the Black Caps.

If Australia register victory in the last ODI on Friday, it will assured of the runners-up cheque but will still trail South Africa by a fraction of a ratings point.

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