West Indies’ hopes of qualifying directly for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup are still alive after Sri Lanka’s ODI series loss against Zimbabwe.
The top eight teams on the ICC ODI rankings (cut-off date – 30 September 2017) will qualify directly for the World Cup, while teams ranked 9-12 will play in the ICC World Cup Qualifier in 2018 alongside six other teams (four from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and two from the ICC World Cricket League).
The number of teams at the World Cup has been cut down from 14 in 2015 to 10.
Sri Lanka are currently eighth with 88 points, 10 ahead of ninth-placed West Indies and both teams have ODI matches scheduled in the near future.
While Sri Lanka are set to host India, West Indies will travel to Ireland and England.
The top seven ranked sides – South Africa, Australia, India, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Bangladesh – have already qualified for the tournament as they cannot fall out of the top eight before the cut-off date.
Here are the latest ICC ODI rankings.
1. South Africa – 119
2. Australia – 117
3. India – 114
4. England – 113
5. New Zealand – 111
6. Pakistan – 95
7. Bangladesh – 94
8. Sri Lanka – 88
9. West Indies – 78
10. Afghanistan – 54
11. Zimbabwe – 52
12. Ireland – 41
England captain Joe Root says it was beneficial having predecessor Alastair Cook on the field with him during his first Test as skipper.
Root led from the front at Lord’s, with his first-innings 190 laying the foundations for a 211-run victory over South Africa.
Cook, who returned to the ranks having called time on his captaincy after a 4-0 series defeat in India over the winter, contributed an important 69 in the second innings before Moeen Ali completed his first Test 10-wicket match haul to put England ahead in the four-match series.
“He didn’t want to step on my toes and get in the way but it was great to have him around,” Root told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Tuffers and Vaughan show, when asked about Cook’s presence.
“I think it was nice for him to look at situations without having to make the decisions himself. It was really good of him to offer support and help when I needed it.”
The 26-year-old was delighted to put in an individual performance of note, and is keen for his side to maintain their high standards when the second Test starts at Trent Bridge on Friday.
“It was nice to walk across Lord’s (after the post-match press conference) and have that feeling of pride, accomplishment and relief as well at getting off to a good start,” he added.
“But I am fully aware that there is a lot of hard work to come. “I had a little celebration (after the first Test win) nothing too big. “That was a very untypical English wicket and I thought we adapted to it well. It will be interesting to see what Trent Bridge has in store of us.”
Moeen Ali may have taken 10 wickets in England’s first Test win over South Africa at Lord’s, but the best way for him to continue to be successful as a bowler is to think of himself as a batsman.
That was the somewhat convoluted position outlined by England coach Trevor Bayliss, who stressed neither he nor the all-rounder himself were thinking of the Worcestershire man as a frontline spinner.
Ali starred with both bat and ball as England launched Joe Root’s reign as captain with a commanding 211-run victory in the series opener against the Proteas, the win achieved with more than a day to spare.
During the match, Ali became the second-quickest England player after Tony Greig to complete the all-rounder’s double of 2,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test cricket.
His match figures of 10 for 112 allied to a first-innings 87 also helped him move above England team-mate Ben Stokes into fourth place in the International Cricket Council’s list of leading Test all-rounders.
And yet Bayliss believes it will help “complex character” Ali if left-armer Liam Dawson is regarded as England’s leading spinner should they retain the same side for Friday’s second Test of a four-match series at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge.
“We’ll stick with one spinner and one batter that bowls a little … and that’s important for Mo more than anything,” said Bayliss.
Of course, England won’t care a bit how they or Ali views himself if he keeps on taking wickets following his Test-best six for 53 at Lord’s on Sunday that was key to South Africa’s collapse to 119 all out in their second innings.
“If he goes into the match as a batter and the second spinner, as we saw in this is probably more so for Mo’s benefit, to take a little bit of that pressure off him,” added Australian coach Bayliss.
Hampshire’s Dawson bagged a pair at Lord’s, his third nought in two career Tests after an unbeaten fifty on debut away to India last year.
After an uncertain start at Lord’s, his bowling became more of a threat on an increasingly helpful pitch and he finished with match figures of four for 101.
“Liam admitted himself that he was very nervous in the first innings, first Test match at home, first Test at Lord’s,” said Bayliss.
“But I thought he showed the character we know he has to come back and bowl better in the second innings — and bowl in a good partnership with Mo.”
The match was a triumph for Root, whose first-innings 190 put England in a strong position.
“Before this Test match, he was a little more on edge than I’ve seen him before,” said Bayliss.
“But he didn’t try to be something he’s not. He’s a pro-active, confident sort of a young bloke, and I thought that came across in the way he led the team.”
Former captain Alastair Cook made a valuable fifty in the second innings and Bayliss said he was enjoying his return to the ranks.
“He’s loving it! I was having a bit of a laugh about it, just watching him in the field.
“For someone in that stage of his career, it’s a good sign.”
Meanwhile Jonny Bairstow’s increasingly assured wicket-keeping, allied to his proven run-scoring ability was exemplified by his excellent legside catch to dismiss Heino Kuhn on Sunday.
“That first catch was probably the best he’s taken since I’ve been here in the last three summers,” said Bayliss. “So that will give him a lot of confidence.”