RABADA’S RANK­ING RISES

KG dis­places team­mate Tahir while De Vil­liers re­tains bat­ting top spot

The New Age (Free State) - - FRONT PAGE - NEVILLE KHOZA nevillek@the­newage.co.za

KAG­ISO Rabada is not only shin­ing with the ball but he is also mov­ing up in the rank­ings.

The Proteas fast bowler is now of­fi­cially the best in the world. This af­ter the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil an­nounced their lat­est rank­ings yes­ter­day and the 22 year old moved up four places to No 1 on the ODI bowlers list.

This fol­lows his haul of 4/39 against Eng­land at Lord’s on Mon­day in the Proteas’ seven wicket vic­tory al­though they lost the se­ries 2-1.

Rabada who has been cru­cial for the Proteas since he made his ODI de­but two years ago, be­came the youngest No 1 ranked bowler since Pak­istan off-spin­ner Saqlain Mush­taq in 1998. He has now re­placed his Proteas team­mate Im­ran Tahir at the top.

Rabada ended the se­ries with seven wick­ets in the three-match se­ries against Eng­land.

He is now ex­pected to play a cru­cial role for the Proteas in the ICC Cham­pi­ons

Tro­phy start­ing to­mor­row. The Proteas start their cam­paign with a match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Rabada be­lieves they can still win the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy de­spite los­ing the se­ries to Eng­land.

“Oh yes, why not? We’ve got re­ally good play­ers, amaz­ing tal­ent, ex­pe­ri­ence as well. Win­ning this game will give us con­fi­dence and if we play well we can win this thing,” Rabada said.

“We have been play­ing good cricket, if we had won the sec­ond game, we would have won the se­ries. Hav­ing won our last game will give us con­fi­dence and I feel the team go into the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy feel­ing strong. We have great names and if we play well we can win this.”

Tahir dropped to sec­ond in the rank­ings while skip­per AB de Vil­liers re­mains the top-ranked ODI bats­man, with team­mate Quin­ton de Kock moved up two places to No 4.

Mean­while, buoyed by Mon­day’s win over Eng­land, Proteas coach Rus­sell Domingo said they will go

into the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy with con­fi­dence and can win the com­pe­ti­tion. “Ev­ery in­ter­na­tional game has im­por­tance,” Domingo said.

“Whether we are 2- 0 up or 2- 0 down, we try to ap­proach it with the same sort of in­ten­sity. There have been a lot of ben­e­fits and a lot of pos­i­tives in the last two games that we can take through to the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

“I’m happy with the way things have panned out for us.”

“To win this game will give us con­fi­dence and I feel the team go into the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy feel­ing strong. We have great names and if we play well we can win this.”

PIC­TURE: GALLO IMAGES

RIS­ING UP: Proteas fast bowler Kag­iso Rabada has be­come the youngest No 1 bowler in ODIs since Pak­istan’s Saqlain Mush­taq in 1998.

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