Heather Knight's dream of winning the Women's World Cup on home soil moved a step closer after England qualified for next year's tournament.
Needing one win from the remaining three ICC Women's Championship matches in Colombo, England achieved their goal at the first time of asking, cruising to a 122-run win to secure the two points they needed for automatic qualification.
“It’s a brilliant feeling," said Heather Knight, who made 51 in the victory.
"We have the best fans in the world, so to get the opportunity to play in a World Cup on home soil is really exciting, and something that we are all already looking forward to.
“Playing in that first round of the ICC Women’s Championship back in 2014 against India feels like a long time ago now. We have grown and developed so much as a squad since then, especially in the last 10 months or so, and we are learning all the time. How we played against Pakistan this summer, followed-up by the hard fought victory in the Caribbean, is testament to the work that the players are putting in.
“We are still a young team, and there will undoubtedly be the odd bump as we move forwards, but this is such an exciting time for us as a group. Our main focus now is to stay in the moment and make sure that we finish the year on a high out here in Colombo.
“There’s still a lot of hard work to come over the next eight months but I think every cricketer grows up dreaming of playing in a World Cup final at Lord’s, and by winning today, that dream has come one step closer for us.”
England women are now 2-0 up in the four-match ODI series against Sri Lanka with the final two ICC Women’s Championship matches left to play at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on 15 and 17 November.
photos Janos Schmidt