Sri Lanka needed two wins in the five-match series against India to book their berth in the 2019 World Cup before the cut-off date of September 30. © AFP
Sri Lanka’s chances of sealing direct qualification to the 2019 World Cup took another hit after their loss in the fourth One-Day International to India at the R Premadasa Stadium on Thursday (August 31).
The former World Cup winners needed two wins in the five-match series to book their berth in the marquee event before the cut-off date of September 30.
In pursuit of India’s 375 for 5, Sri Lanka stuttered to 207 all out in 42.4 over – their lowest total with the bat this series – to give India a 4-0 lead.
By losing four consecutive games, Sri Lanka have kept Windies’s qualification hopes alive. Even if Sri Lanka do win the final one-dayer on Sunday, they will only have 88 ranking points, not enough to ensure automatic qualification. Sri Lanka are currently ranked eighth in the ICC’s ODI team rankings.
However, should Sri Lanka win on Sunday and Windies lose even one game of the six they play against Ireland and England combined between September 13 and 29, Sri Lanka will make it through. Windies face Ireland before travelling to England for five one-dayers. Should Windies manage to win their next six games, they will reach 88 points and edge out Sri Lanka on decimal points.
If Sri Lanka are swept 5-0, Windies’s hopes brighten as the No. 9 team in ICC’s ODI rankings can afford to lose one of their games in England.
The West Indies Cricket Board improved the team’s chances by negotiating a deal which will see the return of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels.
The team that does not book a direct berth will have another shot at making it to the United Kingdom through a qualifying tournament. The qualifier will feature the bottom four sides from the ICC team rankings, the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and the top two sides from the ICC World Cricket League. The two top teams from the World Cup Qualifier will complete the ten-team line-up at the World Cup from May 30 to July 15.