Sri Lanka beat India by three wickets in the third and final ODI to gain 10 valuable points in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup Super League
By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Although the series was lost 1-2, Sri Lanka’s win in the third and final ODI against India brought a sigh of relief to the team as well as its followers because they finally managed to garner a valuable 10 points from the victory that saw them move one slot up in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League Standings to 11th position.
If Sri Lanka are to gain automatic qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, they would need to finish within the first eight in the standings.
For the 2023 World Cup, the hosts (India) and the top seven sides thereafter will qualify automatically. The remaining five teams will play in a qualifying event along with five Associate sides, from which two sides will go through to the World Cup.
To achieve that, Sri Lanka have another four ODI series or 12 matches left. Of the four series, Sri Lanka are playing hosts to three of them namely South Africa who are due next month, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. The only series they are playing away is against New Zealand.
Sri Lanka has not won a bilateral ODI series in New Zealand since February 2001, when they won 4-1. Their last three bilateral series in New Zealand have ended in heavy defeats by 3-0, 3-1 and 4-2 margins. New Zealand are currently the no. 1 ranked ODI side and it’s a big ask for Sri Lanka to beat them in their own conditions. Kane Williamson, the captain is ranked 10th in the ODI Batting, Trent Boult is the top bowler in the ODI Bowling rankings along with Matt Henry who is ranked sixth, while Mitchell Santner and Colin de Grandhomme are ranked 5th and 7th in the ODI All-Rounder standings.
Playing at home, there are advantages for Sri Lanka, especially against teams like South Africa and Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka must concentrate all their energies and try to gain the maximum number of points as these two sides are not so good against spin. South Africa are placed only one notch above Sri Lanka in 10th position and Zimbabwe are at the bottom on 13th.
South Africa’s white-ball captain Quinton de Kock is ranked 8th in the ODI batting and their principal fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is ranked 10th in the ODI bowling, whereas for Zimbabwe Sikandar Raza is ranked 10th in the ODI All-Rounders.
Afghanistan is of course a different proposition as they have some of the best spinners in the business and thereby are able to tackle spin better than the two African nations. But nevertheless, Sri Lanka must find a way to beat the Afghans who are currently placed 8th in the standings.
Afghanistan has beaten Sri Lanka only once in four ODI outings – at Abu Dhabi in 2018, but those figures don’t reflect how much they have improved as a white-ball team since then, winning seven of their last 15 bilateral ODIs, the last being a 3-0 whitewash of Ireland in Abu Dhabi in January this year.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman is placed third in the ODI bowling rankings and two other players Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan are ranked second and fourth respectively in the ODI all-rounder rankings.
Compare these rankings to the Sri Lankans and it is quite easy to assess why they are ranked so low in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League Standings. Not a single Sri Lankan figure in the top 10 of the batting, bowling or all-rounder rankings.
Sri Lanka’s leading batsman in the first 100 of the Men’s ODI batting rankings is Kusal Perera in 42nd place. He is followed by Angelo Mathews (47th), Danushka Gunathilaka (50th), Kusal Mendis (53rd), Niroshan Dickwella (62nd), Avishka Fernando (68th), Dhananjaya de Silva (76th), Lahiru Thirimanne (88th), Dasun Shanaka (97th) and Dinesh Chandimal (98th).
In the first 100 of the Men’s ODI Bowling Rankings, spinner Akila Dananjaya has the best placing at 20, followed by Dushmantha Chameera (34th), Wanindu Hasaranga (35th), Nuwan Pradeep (54th), Suranga Lakmal (61st), Dhananjaya de Silva (83rd), and Lakshan Sandakan (85th).
The ongoing inaugural edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, which is taking place from July 2020 to March 2023, serves as part of the 2023 Cricket World Cup qualification process. It features 13 teams, the 12 Full Members of the ICC and the Netherlands who won the 2015-17 ICC World Cricket League Championship to qualify for the competition. Each team plays an ODI series (comprising of three matches) against eight of the other 12 teams, four series at home and four away.
Sri Lanka’s performances in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League so far:
Vs. West Indies – Lost 3-0 (A)
Vs. Bangladesh – Lost 2-1 (A)
Vs. England – Lost 2-0 (A)
Vs. India – Lost 2-1 (H)
Of the four series that are to be played away, Sri Lanka has already played three and have only one more ODI series against New Zealand whereas on home soil they have played only one, and have three ODI series left to be played against South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan to gain automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup. Thus, despite the current standings in the Super League things don’t look gloomy as it looks for Sri Lanka.