Calcutta: Pakistan have set sight on direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup when they take on Australia in a five-match ODI series starting in Brisbane on Friday.
Pakistan are presently in serious danger of failing to qualify directly for the ICC's pinnacle 50-over tournament in the United Kingdom in 2019 as they are sitting in eighth position on 89 points - two behind Bangladesh and two ahead of the West Indies.
Hosts England and the seven highest-ranked sides on the ICC ODI team rankings as on September 30, 2017 will qualify directly for the event proper to be held from May 30 to July 15, 2019.
The four bottom-ranked sides will be joined by six teams from the ICC World Cricket League in the 10-team World Cup Qualifier in 2018 and the top two sides will complete the 10-team World Cup line-up.
To, at least, maintain their pre-series ranking points, Pakistan need to win one match of the series, while victories in more than one match will earn them crucial points.
Meanwhile, India will be aiming to narrow the gap with second-ranked South Africa when the third-ranked side take on fifth-ranked England in a three-match ODI series starting in Pune on January 15.
ODI team rankings
1. Australia; 2. South Africa; 3. India ; 4. New Zealand; 5. England; 6. Sri Lanka; 7. Bangladesh; 8. Pakistan; 9. West Indies; 10. Afghanistan; 11. Zimbabwe; 12. Ireland