England battle to avoid Champions Trophy prelims

 
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Dubai, Mar 16 (UNI) England will have to win one of the first two ODIs against Rahul Dravid's men to avoid playing in the preliminary round of the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in India later this year.

Sides in positions seven to ten in the LG ICC ODI Championship table on April 1 will face that fate and at the moment Sri Lanka, along with the West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are the teams occupying those slots.

Sri Lanka can overtake sixth-placed England with a 2-1 series win over Pakistan but if England win at least one of their two matches against India that will take place before the April 1 the Lankans could slip back to seventh.

A 3-0 series win for Sri Lanka will guarantee them a top six place but that result would also bring Pakistan into the equation as they could find themselves seventh if England win one of those two clashes against India.

If Inzamam-ul Haq's side beat their hosts 2-1 then Sri Lanka will drop to 106 rating points and will need to rely on India winning both of the March matches against England to jump back to sixth spot.

And in a further potential scenario, a 3-0 win for Pakistan will condemn Sri Lanka to the preliminary round no matter what happens in the India-England matches.

There are just six rating points (equivalent to approximately three victories) separating third-placed New Zealand (113) and Sri Lanka (107).

Neither Sri Lanka nor Pakistan have been in spectacular ODI form lately which makes the result of their upcoming series especially hard to predict.

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh 2-1 recently while Pakistan lost 4-1 in a series against India last month.

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