Australia qualifies for ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 after blanking out Sri Lanka

News Hour:

Australia has qualified for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 after a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in the ICC Women’s Championship. Australia captain Meg Lanning has lauded her side for the way it adjusted to the conditions to become the first side to book a place at next summer’s event to be held in England.

“We were hoping to win all games that we played. I thought Sri Lanka tested us at certain stages but we stuck to our guns pretty well, certainly in the last two games we set pretty high standards.

“The conditions have been difficult, I guess, from the batting perspective, very different from back home, but the last couple of games we have adjusted very well, we came with our plans and stuck to them,” Lanning said.

Australia had arrived in Sri Lanka needing just one win to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. And Lanning’s side achieved it in style when it wrapped up the first match in Dambulla last Tuesday by 78 runs. It then won the two Colombo ODIs by nine wickets and 137 runs.

Australia now sits pretty on 30 points from 18 games, 10 points more than its nearest rival the West Indies, which, like the remaining six sides in the competition, has played three less matches. England is third with 19 points, followed by New Zealand (16), South Africa (15), India (13), Pakistan (eight) and Sri Lanka (five).

The top four sides from the ICC Women’s Championship will automatically qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 while the bottom four sides will get a final chance of qualification through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in February 2017.

Lanning said the team was preparing for the different challenges in England next year.

“We are going to every game trying to improve and be better and we want to win every game. We have got a World Cup in July that we need to be ready for and play really good cricket, so it’s important we play every game the way we want to and also try on work on things to get better.

“The conditions will be different in England. The key is in being aggressive and to take the game on as much as we can. Wickets are very important in ODI cricket. I think we are in a really good spot but have areas to improve,” Lanning said.

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Atapattu said they had been hoping to do better but hoped to learn from the series.

“We are not satisfied with our performances in this series. We couldn’t complete our tasks individually and were unable to follow our plans. This is a big experience – playing a series against Australia – and we hope to learn from it.

“The Australia players applied themselves very well and came up with good individual performances. As for our team, we had some satisfaction in taking several wickets in the first match but we seemed to lose focus in the remaining matches,” Atapattu said.

Australia’s dominance in the series saw some gains for both its batsmen and bowlers.

Left-hander batter Nicole Bolton, who was the pick of the batters with 212 runs and finished as the only centurion of the IWC series with scores of 64, 35 and 113, moved up three slots to 18th position in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Women’s Player rankings.

Bolton’s opening partner Elyse Villani’s 115 runs in the three matches enabled her to re-enter the rankings at 52nd position while top-ranked Lanning, fourth-ranked Ellyse Perry and sixth-ranked Alex Blackwell retained their positions with reasonably good showings.

Leg-spinner Kristen Beams, who was the most successful bowler in the series with 10 wickets and conceded just 61 runs in three matches, moved up 16 places to 28th rank in the rankings for bowlers. Beams had hauls of 4-15 in the first match and 4-26 in the third.

Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen’s four wickets took her up two places to seventh position while pace bowler Holly Ferling’s seven wickets helped her move up 10 places to 52nd rank.

For Sri Lanka, opener Prasadani Weerakkody moved up four slots to 26th position while captain Chamara Atapattu made up for her lack of big contributions with the bat by taking five wickets with her medium-pace bowling that helped her move up 17 ranks to 76th position.

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