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ICC Cricket World Cup Super League

How Sri Lanka can still qualify automatically for the 2023 World Cup

by Sarah Waris 4 minute read

The ODI Super League has ensured that every bilateral series played till the 2023 World Cup has plenty of context. With points on the line in every game, teams have a lot to play for as they aim for direct qualification for the 50-over event in India. Though the system awards consistency, a side such as Sri Lanka that has struggled of late can still hope to qualify directly as well with the right run of results.

According to this cycle of the ODI Super League, the 12 Full Member countries along with the Netherlands (who won the ICC World Cricket League Championship that was held from 2015-17) play eight teams each, with four series being held at home and four away. Each side is awarded 10 points for a win, five for a tie or a draw, and zero points for a defeat. The top seven teams who aren’t India directly qualify for the World Cup that will be held in 2023, with India qualifying directly as hosts, while the other five sides will take part in the World Cup Qualifiers.

Where Sri Lanka stand

Sri Lanka are currently 11th in the Super League for this cycle with two wins, nine losses and one no result. They have 22 points and have been docked three points for slow over-rate. Their win against India in the third ODI came at a crucial moment for the Sri Lankans, who have been struggling for momentum in the last few months.

However, their performance in this cycle of the Super League does not justify the talent at their disposal. Before Covid-19 halted cricketing action, Sri Lanka had won seven of their last ten ODI games. They had routed West Indies 3-0 besides winning by a similar margin against Bangladesh days after the 2019 World Cup. Though they did go down to Pakistan later that year, they had completely dominated the two series against Windies and Bangladesh.

This is something that the Sri Lankans might target — look for a series sweep against teams in the bottom half of the ICC ODI rankings, which will make it easier for them to qualify directly for the World Cup in 2023.

How their schedule looks

The four teams that Sri Lanka will not play in the ongoing Super League are Australia, Ireland, Netherlands and Pakistan. They have faced West Indies, Bangladesh, England and India in the last four months, without just two wins across 12 games. It’s hard to tell for certain, but it’s likely, given Sri Lanka’s deductions, that they will need 11 or 12 wins in total to qualify for the World Cup automaticlly.

Given they only have 12 games left, that doesn’t leave much room for error. They will rue their missed opportunities against West Indies and Bangladesh, but can still not be ruled out for direct qualification, with two of their most challenging series, against England and India, out of the way. The have three winnable home series coming up, against South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, though given their fourth series is away against New Zealand, they might well need to clean-sweep their upcoming home encounters, or else perform above expectations against the Black Caps.

While South Africa are currently 10th in the Super League table, Afghanistan are eighth with Ireland on sixth spot.

The Asian side displayed their fighting skills in the ODIs against India, though the visitors fielded a second-string side. If they can carry forward that momentum and put their best foot forward in an FTP cycle that is now tilted in their favor, Sri Lanka might just clinch direct qualification for the 2023 World Cup.

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