[Pakistan], Oct.6 (ANI): Asserting that his side consist of some `match-winners`, Pakistan ODI skipper Azhar Ali has insisted that his fast developing side are fully prepared to qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup.
Pakistan completed a three-match series whitewash 3-0 against West Indies with a comprehensive 136-run win over the Caribbean side in the third match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The Azhar-led side won the first two matches by 111 runs and 59 runs respectively.
The series win also saw Pakistan lift their rankings by one place to eighth spot and relegate the West Indies to ninth in the fight for a direct entry at the 2019 World Cup.
Hosts England along with the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI rankings on September 30 next year will qualify directly for the pinnacle event.
Reflecting on his side's feat, Azhar said that the series whitewash against West Indies was important in their quest to seal a direct berth in the World Cup.
"It was an important series and it's just the start of more challenges. We have to keep this improvement with one year to go for the [World Cup 2019] deadline," Azhar was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
Earlier, Pakistan had slumped to their lowest-ever ninth ranking following their 0-3 series loss to Bangladesh and defeats against England and New Zealand.
The opener, however, believes the confidence level of his players have been boosted following the series win over the struggling Caribbean side.
While heaping praise over Babar Azam's performance, Azhar said that the 21-year-old batsman stood out in the series by scoring three successive centuries.
"We have good players who have gelled well.Babar (Azam) stood out in this series and to score consistently with back-to-back hundreds shows that he has that hunger. He has given a world class performance," Azhar said of Azam, who scored 120, 123 and 117 in the three matches to become only the third Pakistan player and eighth batsmen in all one-day cricket to hit three consecutive hundreds.
Pakistan will play their next one-day series against Australia in early 2017(ANI)