India are placed fifth while three-time world champions Australia lead the 46-team table in the first Women’s T20I Team Rankings which were launched by the International Cricket Council on Friday.

The ICC’s move to launch the women’s T20I rankings follows its decision earlier this year to award international status to all T20 matches between member countries. Before this, women’s cricket had a combined team ranking.

All women’s T20 matches between members have had international status since the Asia Cup in June and the new rankings system is for teams gauge where they stand in the shortest format of the game, said an ICC release.

Australia, who were top-ranked in the combined rankings system, are now ranked number one in both forms of the game and lead Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand by three points in the T20I rankings table.

Australia are on 280 points, New Zealand on 277 while England are just a further one point behind with 276 points.

Australia, will however, have to win their upcoming three-match T20I series from October 25 to 29 against Pakistan in Malaysia by a 3-0 margin to retain their top spot.

Pakistan will be unable to overtake sixth-ranked South Africa even if they were to pull off a shock 3-0 win.

The West Indies, who will defend their ICC Women’s World T20 title at home from November 9 to 24, are ranked fourth with 259 points and India are a further 10 points behind in fifth place.

The next five teams on the table – South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ireland – complete the lineup for the West Indies event.

The list includes nine sides from Europe, 14 from Asia, 13 from Africa, four each from East Asia Pacific and the Americas, apart from Australia and the West Indies.

India captain Harmanpreet Kaur welcomed the move. “I’m sure these rankings will encourage more countries to play the game regularly and teams will get a good idea of where they stand in the global context. Players always take interest in the ICC rankings as they are a true reflection of where teams and players stand,” she said.

Scotland are the top ranked associate member at the 11th spot while Thailand are 12th, following some good performances of late including a win over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup earlier this year.

Teams will have to play six T20I matches in the previous three to four years to remain on the rankings table.

The system moves away from the combined rankings in place earlier and there is now a separate ICC Women’s ODI Team Rankings table with 10 teams, in line with the men’s rankings, which are separate for each format.

“We are committed to growing the game and T20 is the vehicle through which we’ll do this. Global rankings and international status for all T20 games between members is a huge step forward and will contribute to our efforts to accelerate the growth of the women’s game,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement.

“The new rankings will provide incentive for teams to play regularly and mark their progress globally. I wish teams all the best.”