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South Africa takes the lead in LG ICC ODI Championship table
The Proteas have taken over at the summit of the table following Australia’s five-wicket loss to New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday, which cost Michael Hussey’s side two rating points.

And even if Australia wins the final match of its three-match series against the Black Caps, in Hamilton on Tuesday, it will not be enough for it to regain top spot.

It is the first time since the listings began in October 2002 that Australia has not occupied top position.

The side that leads the table on 1 April stands to win US$175,000, with US$75,000 going to the second-placed team and so, with the ICC Cricket World Cup starting in the Caribbean on 13 March, there is still an opportunity for Australia to regain top spot ahead of that cut-off date.

South Africa has taken over thanks to an outstanding recent run of form in the past 12 months. Since it failed to qualify for the finals of the tri-series against Australia and Sri Lanka last February it has won 15 of its 21 matches.

That run includes a 3-2 series win over Australia, sealed when it scored a then world-record 438-9 at Johannesburg, as well as seven wins from its last eight completed matches.

Form like that has lifted South Africa’s rating by 10 points since the end of February 2006 while, during that same period, Australia’s rating has slipped by seven points, not helped by five losses in its last six matches including Sunday’s reverse at Eden Park.

New Zealand’s victory, which secures the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, has lifted it to 111 rating points and it now only trails third-placed Pakistan when the ratings are recalculated to three decimal places.

If Stephen Fleming’s side can complete a 3-0 clean sweep on Tuesday then it will overtake Inzamam-ul-Haq’s side, a timely boost for the side that failed to reach the tri-series final against Australia and England earlier this month.

India, meanwhile, is only two rating points further back in fifth place having moved ahead of Sri Lanka thanks to its 2-1 series win, completed with a seven-wicket victory over Mahela Jayawardene’s side in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

LG ICC ODI Championship (as of 18 February, after second match of Chappell-Hadlee series between New Zealand and Australia)

Rank    Team                     Points

1            South Africa         128
2            Australia               126
3            Pakistan               111
4            New Zealand       111
5            India                      109
6           Sri Lanka               108
7           England                 106
8           West Indies           101
9           Bangladesh            42
10         Zimbabwe               22
11         Kenya                         0 

Shoaib, Kaneria in Pakistan ICC CWC squad
By Our Correspondent 

In an expected move, injury hit Pakistan has recalled leg-spinner Danesh Kaneria in the 15-man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Pakistan is facing huge injury problems and while Shoiab Akhtar and Umar Gul are in the list of 15, there are chances that they may miss the mega event.

The team: Inzamam ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan (vice captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Rao Iftikhar Anjum 

Top 10 batsmen of the ICC Cricket World Cups
By Tushar Trivedi 

Vivian Richards, Aravinda de Silva and Ricky Ponting each have had the distinction of scoring a century in the final of an ICC Cricket World Cup and making that a title-winning effort. That is something the batsman who heads this list has yet to do. 

Richards, who has left a great impact on the tournament, scored a masterly unbeaten 138 that enabled the West Indies to reach 288 in the 1979 final at Lord's. They beat England, who could muster only 194. 

Richards (63.31) tops the averages for the ICC Cricket World Cup, though Sachin Tendulkar heads the list of top batsmen with his 1732 runs in 32 innings. Tendulkar has the second highest average (over 59) and shares the most number of centuries (four) with Mark Waugh. 

Among current players, Ricky Ponting is closest to Tendulkar with 998 runs in ICC Cricket World Cup tournaments. In the last final, his 140 helped Australia post 359 to beat India. 

Tendulkar has an excellent chance of going past 2000 runs in this year's tournament given his record. 

Players For Runs M Inn NO HS Ave 100s 50s 0s 90s 

Sachin Tendulkar Ind 1732 33 32 3 152 59.72 4 12 1 3 
Javed Miandad  Pak 1083 33 30 5 103 43.32 1 8 2 0 
Aravinda de Silva  SL 1064 35 32 3 145 36.69 2 6 2 2
Vivian Richards  WI 1013 23 21 5 181 63.31 3 5 0 1 
Mark Waugh  Aus 1004 22 22 3 130 52.84 4 4 2 0 
Ricky Ponting  Aus 998 28 27 3 140* 41.58 3 2 1 0 
Steve Waugh  Aus 978 33 30 10 120* 48.90 1 6 0 0 
Arjuna Ranatunga  SL 969 30 29 8 88* 46.14 0 7 3 0 
Brian Lara  WI 956 25 25 3 116 43.45 2 6 1 0 
Saeed Anwar  Pak 915 21 21 4 113* 53.82 3 3 0 0 

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