Sri Lanka have been fined 20 per cent of their match fee and docked a point in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League cycle for maintaining a slow over-rate in the first ODI against New Zealand in Auckland.
Jeff Crowe of the ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the sanction after Dasun Shanaka's side was ruled to be one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration for the game played on Saturday.
In accordance with Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.
In addition, as per Article 16.12.2 of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League Playing Conditions, a side is penalised one point for each over short. Consequently, Sri Lanka lost one point from their points tally.
"Shanaka pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing," the ICC said in a media release.
On-field umpires Shaun Haig and Wayne Knights, third umpire Chris Brown and fourth umpire Cory Black levelled the charge.
The top eight sides in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League standings qualify directly for the World Cup. Sri Lanka are currently placed in the ninth spot with a game to go. South Africa (78 points) are one below with two to play, and Ireland (68 points) have three fixtures in hand.
This deduction along with a washout in Christchurch during the second ODI means that Sri Lanka now have 81 instead of 82 points. With only a solitary fixture in their hand, the Sri Lankans are in danger of missing out on a direct berth to the World Cup.
Sri Lanka need to win the third ODI to surpass West Indies and move up to the eighth position in the standings. But even if they win the final ODI against New Zealand to earn an extra 10 Super League points and rise into the eighth spot on the standings, their qualification hopes depend on the performance of South Africa, who are currently in the tenth position with 80 points.
Sri Lanka only have one match remaining in the Super League, with their clash against New Zealand in the third and final ODI in Hamilton on Friday their last chance to overtake the West Indies and move into a critical top-eight place to qualify automatically for this year's tournament.
But even if Sri Lanka do win that final ODI against New Zealand to earn an extra 10 Super League points and rise into the eighth spot on the standings, they could still be forced into the Qualifier in Zimbabwe as 10th placed South Africa have enough matches in hand to overtake them.
South Africa have two matches left of their postponed ODI series against the Netherlands and wins in both of those contests would see the Proteas jump in front of both Sri Lanka and the West Indies and into the pivotal eighth place.
The 11th-placed Ireland could also still qualify automatically, given they have three matches remaining against Bangladesh in May.
New Zealand currently sit at the top of the Super League standings with 165 points and also have one match left to play in the series.
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