Sri Lanka will be glaring upon the chance to seal a direct qualification for the ICC World Cup 2019 in the upcoming five-match ODI home series against India which commences in Dambulla on Sunday.
The Upul Tharanga-led side 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 September 30.
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 hosting England to gain a direct qualification for the World Cup.
The bottom four sides on the ODI Team Rankings will need to play a qualifying event that will also feature 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 World Cup 2019.
Winning two matches will take Sri Lanka to 90 points while West Indies will at best reach 88 points even if the Carribean win its one-off ODI against Ireland on September 13 as well as all the five matches of its series against England from September 19-29.
However, a 4-1 win for the Men in Blue will see Sri Lanka finish with 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 the 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.
(With ANI Inputs).