Dubai: Hosts Sri Lanka will swing into ICC World Twenty20 mood as they take on Pakistan in a two-match international series with both teams looking to move up the ICC T20 Championship table. Sri Lanka, who will host ICC World Twenty20, need to win the series 2-0 if they are to move up from third place in the ICC T20 Championship table. The two teams will also be keen to get some good match practice ahead of the World Twenty20 to be held from September 18 to October 7 in Colombo, Pallekele and Hambantota later this year.
Mahela Jayawardene's side has the opportunity to rise to second in the table, and usurp South Africa who currently occupy second place, if the 2-0 scenario occurs.
Sri Lanka's ratings points would rise to 124, while Pakistan's would drop to 107 and put the latter in seventh place just above India when the points are calculated to within the decimal point.
The two-match series between the sub-continental giants kicks off on Friday at Hambantota.
If Pakistan, the ICC World Twenty20 2009 champions, beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the series, then newly appointed Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez would see his side move up to fourth, one ratings point behind New Zealand.
Should Sri Lanka lose the series 2-0, they would see the ICC World Twenty20 2009 runners-up drop to sixth in the Championship table, just below Australia when the points are calculated to within the decimal point.
If both matches are tied, neither side will move up or down the table, while if one match is tied and Sri Lanka win the other match, Pakistan will drop to sixth in the table after losing two ratings points.
If the scenario is reversed and Pakistan win one match, while the other is tied, this visitors will remain fifth, while hosts Sri Lanka will drop to fourth in the table.
Meanwhile, in the ICC Player Rankings for T20 batsmen there is plenty of opportunity for movement from the players on both sides. Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene is the highest ranked batsman involved in the series, currently fifth, while compatriots Tillakaratne Dilshan (sixth) and Kumar Sangakkara (eighth) are not far behind the diminutive batsman.
Further down the table, Pakistan's Umar Akmal (15th) and allrounders Shahid Afridi (24th) and Hafeez (27th) have a chance to rise up the rankings table which is currently topped by England's Kevin Pietersen.
The ICC Player Rankings for T20 bowlers is currently topped by England's Graeme Swann. Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis is currently in second, but with the spinner not involved in the series it gives Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, currently third, a perfect opportunity to overtake the Sri Lanka bowler.
Pakistan's bowlers dominate the top ten of the table, with Saeed (third), Afridi (fifth) and Hafeez (seventh). The highest ranked Sri Lankans involved in the series are Nuwan Kulasekara (26th) and Angelo Mathews (36th) and both will want to ensure the wickets tumble not only to improve their rankings but also to ensure they are fully prepared for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012.
Finally, in the ICC Player Rankings for T20 allrounders, Australia's Shane Watson holds the top spot with 438 ratings points but Pakistan's Afridi is not far behind him with 413 points, while Pakistan captain Hafeez is in fourth and could leapfrog Australia's David Hussey who currently occupies third position.
Sri Lanka's Dilshan is the highest ranked allrounder for the hosts in fifth while Angelo Mathews occupies the ninth place and the duo need strong performances in this series to push for a place in the top four.