With eight sides confirmed for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, the race to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 begins in Colombo on Sunday when Sri Lanka host the West Indies in a three-match series.
Sri Lanka currently sit in fifth position on 103 points, while the West Indies are ranked eighth on 88 points. Each One-Day International (ODI) played over the next 23 months will count as the top eight sides on the ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 will progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, while the bottom four sides, along with the top sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and the ICC World Cricket League, will head to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 to fight out for the two remaining slots.
As such, all 12 sides on the ICC ODI Team Rankings will not only be aiming to play as many matches as possible but also to win most of the matches so that they can make the cut and secure direct qualification for the pinnacle 50-over tournament to be hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board from 30 May to 15 July 2019.
In regards to the forthcoming series, Sri Lanka can collect a maximum of two points while five points will be up for grabs for the West Indies. However, they will only be able to pocket these points if they win all three matches of the series. Both sides will retain pre-series points if the home side wins the series 2-1, while a 2-1 result in favour of the visitors will mean they will move to 91 points and the hosts will slip to 102 points.
In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen, Sri Lanka’s fourth-ranked Tillakaratne Dilshan and captain Angelo Mathews (20th) are the only batsmen who feature inside the top 20.
The West Indies has the next three batsmen with Marlon Samuels (37th), Darren Bravo (44th) and Andre Russell (49th) starring inside the top 50 and aiming for upward movements.
South Africa’s AB de Villiers is the number-one ranked batsman, followed by Virat Kohli of India and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.
The West Indies’ second-ranked Sunil Narine is the highest-ranked bowler from either side. He will have Australia’s number-one ranked Mitchell Starc firmly within his sights as the Player of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is just four points ahead of the off-spinner.
Sri Lanka boasts Sachithra Senanayake (17th) and Mathews (19th) inside the top 20.
West Indies captain Jason Holder (22nd) and Ravi Rampaul (23rd) are separated by just six points and have James Faulker firmly within their sights. The Australian left-arm fast bowler is sitting in 20th spot, just two points ahead of Holder.
Dilshan and Mathews will begin their battle for the slot of Sri Lanka’s highest-ranked all-rounder. Only four points separate second-ranked Dilshan from Mathews in the list, which is headed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan.