West Indies, Sri Lanka vie for last available automatic place for ICC World Cup 2019

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Evin Lewis

ZIMBABWE’S historic series win against Sri Lanka has given the West Indies a glimmer of hope of direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with the gap between two-time former world champions West Indies and 1996 champions Sri Lanka narrowed to 10 points on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings.
India defeated the West Indies by 3-1 and Zimbabwe overpowered Sri Lanka by 3-2, resulting in changes to the ODI team rankings, giving West Indies renewed hope in the race to the September 30, 2017 cut-off date for direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Sri Lanka had entered the series against Zimbabwe, needing to win by 4-1 or better to secure a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2017.
However, the eventual result has brought the West Indies back in contention as Sri Lanka slipped from 93 points to 88 points, which, in turn, has meant the 16 points gap between the eighth and ninth ranked sides has been trimmed to 10 points.
According to the current Future Tours Programme, Sri Lanka will now have a second chance to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 when they host India for a five-ODI series in August.

And if Sri Lanka win two or more matches in this series, then it will qualify automatically for the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over tournament, irrespective of how England and the West Indies series pans out.
However, Sri Lanka’s failure to win two matches against India will mean the West Indies will still have a chance to avoid featuring in next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
If India beat Sri Lanka by 4-1, then the West Indies will have to win all five matches against England. But, if India sweep all five ODIs against Sri Lanka, then the West Indies will need to beat England by 4-0 or better.

These permutations give tremendous context to the presently scheduled upcoming ODIs, as Sri Lanka and the West Indies will be fighting tooth and nail to secure the eighth and last available automatic place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The remaining two places will be filed by the top two sides from the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, which will be completed by the bottom four sides from the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings, top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and top two sides from the ICC World Cricket League.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe have received points boost following their 3-2 series win. For this achievement, Zimbabwe have earned five points, which lifted them to 52 points – two behind 10th-ranked Afghanistan and 11 ahead of 12th-ranked Ireland.
Upcoming ODIs, currently scheduled on the FTP in the lead up to the September 30, 2017 cut-off date, are:

SRI LANKA v INDIA
August 20 – 1st ODI, Dambulla
August 24 – 2nd ODI, Pallekele
August 27 – 3rd ODI, Pallekele
August 31 – 4th ODI, Colombo
September 3 – 5th ODI, Colombo

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES
September 19 – 1st ODI Old Trafford
September 21 – 2nd ODI, Nottingham
September 24 – 3rd ODI, Bristol
September 27 – 4th ODI, The Oval
September 29 – 5th ODI, Southampton
MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on July 11 after West Indies v India and Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe series):

Rank Team Points
1. South Africa 119
2. Australia 117
3. India 114 (-2)
4. England 113
5. New Zealand 111
6. Pakistan 95
7. Bangladesh 94
8. Sri Lanka 88 (-5)
9. West Indies 78 (+1)
10. Afghanistan 54
11. Zimbabwe 52 (+6)
12. Ireland 41
(Developed by David Kendix)