Sri Lanka And West Indies Vie For Last Available Automatic Place In ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

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 30 September 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 has 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, which is available here, Sri Lanka will now have a second chance to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 when it hosts India for a five-ODI series in August. And if Sri Lanka wins 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 beats Sri Lanka by 4-1, then the West Indies will have to win all five matches against England. But, if India sweeps 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 has received points boost following its 3-2 series win. For this achievement, Zimbabwe has earned five points, which has lifted it to 52 points – two behind 10th-ranked Afghanistan and 11 ahead of 12th-ranked Ireland. In the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Player Rankings, there are a number of movements but the top five batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders have remained unchanged.

In the batting table, India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni has moved up three places to 12th after scoring 154 runs in the series, while Ajinkya Rahane has been rewarded for finishing as the leading run-getter in the series with 336 runs with a jump of 13 places that has put him just outside the top 20 on a career-high 23rd position. West Indies’ Shai Hope has vaulted 20 places to 61st in the latest rankings.

Batsmen heading in the right direction following Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe series are Niroshan Dickwella 38th (up by seven places), Sikandar Raza 51st (up by three places), Hamilton Masakadza 57th (up by 14 places), Upul Tharanga 64th (up by 10 places) and Danushka Gunathilaka 70th (up by 36 places).

Virat Kohli of India is on top of the table, followed by David Warner, AB de Villiers, Joe Root and Babar Azam. In the bowlers’ list, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jason Holder and Ravichandran Ashwin have returned to the top 20. Kumar has moved up six places to 13th, Holder is now 18th after lifting five places following his eight wickets in the series, while Ashwin is 20th after leaping 10 places.

Other bowlers to make an upward movement include Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer 33rd (up by 18 places), Umesh Yadav of India 37th (up by five places), West Indies’ Ashley Nurse 45th (up by 13 places), Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga 54th (up by three places), Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza 58th (up by 32 places) and India’s Hardik Pandya 63rd (up by 32 places).

Josh Hazlewood is the number-one ranked bowler, followed by Imran Tahir, Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult.

Sikandar Raza and Hardik Pandya are the biggest movers in the all-rounders’ list, which is headed by Shakib Al Hasan. Raza has jumped 17 places to claim 10th position for the first time in his career, while Pandya is now 26th after moving up 22 places.


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