Sri Lanka will look to seal a direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 during the 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 ODI 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.
India wins 5-0 – India 117 points; Sri lanka 86 points.
India wins 4-1 – India 115 points, Sri Lanka 88 points.
India wins 3-2 – India 113 points, Sri Lanka 90 points.
Sri Lanka wins 3-2 – India 111 points, Sri Lanka 91 points.
Sri Lanka wins 4-1 – India 109 points, Sri Lanka 93 points.
Sri Lanka wins 5-0 – India 106 points, Sri Lanka 94 points.
As for the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Player Rankings, India captain Virat Kohli goes into the series as the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman with 873 points and a chance to increase his 12-point lead over Australia’s David Warner.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12th), Shikhar Dhawan (13th) and vice-captain Rohit Sharma (14th) are the other leading India batsmen while pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar (13th), left-arm spinner Akshar Patel (20th) and Jasprit Bumrah (31st) are the leading bowlers in the side.
For Sri Lanka, all-rounder Angelo Mathews is the leading player among batsmen (27th) as well as bowlers (53rd) and the only all-rounder in the series among the top-five. Kusal Mendis (30th), Niroshan Dickwella (38th) and captain Upul Tharanga (64th) are its other leading batsmen.
India v Sri Lanka series schedule:
20 Aug – 1st ODI, Dambulla
24 Aug – 2nd ODI, Pallekele
27 Aug – 3rd ODI, Pallekele
31 Aug – 4th ODI, Colombo
3 Sep – 5th ODI, Colombo