Sri Lanka will by eyeing the chance to seal direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in an upcoming five-match home series against India which commences in Dambulla on Sunday.
The 1996 World champions will have to win at least two matches to secure a place in the pinnacle 50-over competition by staving off the challenge from the West Indies. The cut-off date for direct qualification is 30 September.
Sri Lanka is currently placed eighth with 88 points, 10 points more than the West Indies, which has an unenviable task in its aim of being among the seven top-ranked sides apart from host England to gain direct qualification.
The bottom four sides on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings will need to play a Qualifying event also featuring the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and top two sides from the ICC World Cricket League. The top two teams from this event will get to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Winning two matches will take Sri Lanka to 90 points while the Windies side will at best reach 88 points even if it wins its one-off ODI against Ireland on 13 September as well as all five matches of its series in England from 19-29 September.
However, a 4-1 win for India will see Sri Lanka finish at 88 points and The Windies could edge it on decimal points if it wins all its upcoming six matches. The Windies side will go out of contention if it loses to Ireland as from there it will at best reach 86 points and remain behind Sri Lanka on decimal points, even if Sri Lanka loses 5-0 to India.
As for India, which is in third position with 114 points, only a 4-1 series win will ensure it stays ahead of England. Even a 3-2 win for India will mean it will slip to 113 points and behind England on decimal points owing to Sri Lanka’s low ranking.