Australia Looks To Qualify For ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 In Sri Lanka Series

September 17, 2016

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Atapattu: “This series is very important and a historical event for us because we are playing the best team in the ICC rankings.”

Australia is only one point away from gaining automatic qualification for next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup but captain Meg Lanning is not taking the upcoming ICC Women’s Championship matches against Sri Lanka lightly.

“We go out there to win every game we play in, and this series is no different. We’ve been in pretty good form in one-day cricket, so we’re looking forward to testing ourselves in different conditions against a good team,” the top-ranked ODI batter said of the series in Dambulla on September 18, 20 and 23.

World champion Australia leads the ICC Women’s Championship Table with 24 points from 15 matches after five of the seven rounds that will determine which four teams gain automatic qualification for the ICC Women’s World Cup in England and Wales from 26 June to 23 July.

The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 champion West Indies is second on the table with 20 points while England is third with 19 points. New Zealand (16), South Africa (15), India (13), Pakistan (eight) and Sri Lanka (five) follow in that order in the eight-team competition.

The bottom four sides will get a second chance to qualify through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 in which they will be joined by six regional qualifiers. Four teams from the Qualifier will advance to the main tournament.

While the three ODI matches will count towards qualification for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, another ODI and a Twenty20 International to follow during the tour are not part of the championship but will count in the ICC team and individual rankings.

Though Australia starts favorite in its first bilateral ODI series against Sri Lanka, Lanning feels her team has to be wary of the conditions.

“It’s going to be a challenge in different conditions with a fair bit of spin and slowness in the wickets, so it’ll be a good test for us but we’re all looking forward to it. Sri Lanka’s batting and bowling attacks are different to a lot of teams we play against, probably a little bit slower and (with) a lot of spinners, so that’s going to be a good test. Their batters probably hit to different areas as well so it will be a different challenge but a good one for our group to take on,” Lanning said. 

Australia has won its three previous ODI matches against Sri Lanka, all in ICC Women’s World Cups, by huge margins. Australia notched a 200-run victory in Christchurch in 2000, won by eight wickets in Pretoria in 2005, and by nine wickets in Mumbai in 2013.

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Atapattu understands that Australia is a top side but feels a lot will depend on how the visiting team adapts to the conditions.

“This series is very important and a historical event for us because we are playing the best team in the ICC rankings. This is also the first time we are playing Australia at home and believe that playing on home soil will be the biggest advantage for us,” Atapattu said.

The left-hand batter says she knows Australia has several big names in the squad but is pinning her hopes on the likes of left-arm pace bowler Udeshika Prabodhani, all-rounder Eshani Lokusuriyage and left-arm spinner Inoka Ranaweera to pull off something spectacular.

“They do have world-class individuals like Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alex Blackwell, and they could pose a big challenge if they play to potential and get used to the conditions quickly.  But we will try our best to finish the table with a few more wins and points after this series. We will try to change history by winning for the first time against Australia,” Atapattu said.

Lanning, who is on a career-best rating of 834 points, will be looking to consolidate her position at the top of the batters’ rankings while Perry (fourth) and Blackwell (sixth) will also be looking at the series as an opportunity to rise in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Women’s Player rankings.

For Sri Lanka, captain Atapattu is its top-ranked player at 18th position with Prasadani Weerakkody (30th) and Eshani Lokusooriya (32nd) the other leading batters in the side.

In the bowlers’ list led by India’s Jhulan Goswami, Perry is ranked in sixth position with Jess Jonassen the other Australian in the top-10, at ninth position. Perry is also the top-ranked all-rounder. 

The squads:

Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu (captain), Sugandi Dasanayaka, Inoshi Fernando, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Achini Kulasooriya, Eshani Lokusooriya, Harshitha Madhavi, Dilani Manodara, Imalka Mendis, Chamari Polgampala, Udeshika Prabhodani, Inoka Ranaweera, Prasadani Weerakkody.

Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.


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