CHRISTCHURCH - Sri Lanka’s hopes of securing automatic qualification for the World Cup took a major blow on Tuesday when heavy rain and gusting winds forced the second one-day international against New Zealand to be abandoned without a ball being bowled. Steady rain meant the covers stayed on all day at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, with organisers calling the match off at 1630 local time (0330 GMT) with more showers forecast. As a result, the two teams split the points which further damages Sri Lanka’s designs on a place in the top eight of the Super League, who automatically qualify for the World Cup in India in October and November. Having also lost the first ODI in the three-match series, Sri Lanka are now ninth in the table with 82 points, six points behind West Indies. To make the top eight, Sri Lanka must win the third ODI against New Zealand in three days’ time and pray that South Africa lose at least once in their upcoming series against the Netherlands, and that Ireland fail to beat Bangladesh 3-0 when they meet in May.
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The teams missing out on the top eight will go into a repechage 10-team tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July from which the final two teams will emerge. New Zealand have already qualified for the World Cup and are now guaranteed to finish as Super League table-toppers even if they lose the third ODI in Hamilton on Friday. Sri Lanka have lost all three tour games played so far in New Zealand, including a 2-0 whitewash in the Test series.