The island nation Sri Lanka has secured a World Cup berth after the Caribbean’s suffered seven wickets loss against England in the first ODI at Old Trafford yesterday. Thus, Sri Lanka becomes the eighth and the final team to confirm their place automatically for the 2019 edition of the World Cup.
September 30 being the cut-off date for the automatic qualification for the coveted ICC World Cup 2019, West Indies (78 points) cannot move over Sri Lanka (86 points) in ICC ODI team rankings regardless of the results in the remaining matches of the five-match series.
To overtake the Sri Lankan team in the rankings, West Indies needed to register a series win by 4-1 or 5-0 but losing the rain-affected 42 over match sealed all the hopes of the West Indies team. A brilliant century from Jonny Bairstow guided the England to ease past a target of 205 runs with 114 balls in hand.
Upul Tharanga, the Sri Lanka was relieved after securing their place while talking to media. He said, “It”s no secret that we have been going through a tough time, but I want to say a big, big thank you to our fans who”ve kept faith with us when things looked bleak. ICC events have always brought out the magic in Sri Lanka cricket, and I look forward to proving that once again.”
“We have a clear plan for the World Cup, and we will work hard at achieving each step. As we say in the dressing room, – Little “w”s [wins] add up to make the big “W” – so that”s what we”ll be focusing on and I know you will see Sri Lanka”s special brand of cricket out there once again soon,” he further added.
The World Champions of 1996, Sri Lanka becomes the eighth team after India, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, England, and Pakistan to get a direct entry to the prestigious tournament.
West Indies will now play the 10 teams’ qualifier in 2018 where they will be joined by Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Ireland. Four teams from the ICC Cricket World League Championship and two sides from the ICC Cricket World League Division 2 will compete against each other to secure their places for the remaining two sides to complete the lineup.
“You always know there”s the potential of that [not qualifying direct], we knew it was going to be a tough ask. But we are very positive as a group and are trying to develop in all formats. If it means the qualifiers next year, it means the qualifiers next year and we”ll build our way back up,” Toby Radford, West Indies” batting coach was heard saying.