West Indies will be forced to battle the likes of Afghanistan, Ireland, the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea to secure qualification for the 2019 World Cup after their seven-wicket loss to England on Tuesday.
With September 30 set as the cut-off date for automatic qualification for the International Cricket Council's showpiece 50-over tournament, two-time champions West Indies (78 points) now cannot move ahead of Sri Lanka (86 points) in the ODI team rankings regardless of other results in the remainder of their five-match series in England.
As a result, 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka have become the eighth and last team to qualify directly, joining Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.
West Indies, who won the first two World Cups - both staged in England - in 1975 and 1979, could still take part in the main 10-team 2019 tournament if they are one of the top two sides in next year's qualifying competition.
That event, which is yet to have a confirmed venue, will see West Indies joined by the bottom three sides in the ODI rankings - Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland - as well as the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League and the top two from Division Two of the WCL.
The Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and Hong Kong presently occupy the top-four spots on the WCL standings with two games to play.
"We knew it was always going to be a tough ask," said West Indies batting coach Toby Radford after their loss to England at Old Trafford.
"But we are very positive as a group and we are trying to develop in all our formats of cricket, so every game that comes now we will be positive and if that means qualifiers next year, it's qualifiers next year and we'll build our way back up."
The confirmation that Sri Lanka had gained direct entry to the next World Cup came after their recent hammering at home to India in all three formats. The Islanders lost the Test and one-day series 3-0 and 5-0 respectively before triumphing by seven wickets in a lone Twenty20 international earlier this month.
"It’s no secret that we have been going through a tough time," said relieved Sri Lanka ODI skipper Tharanga in an ICC statement released shortly after England's win over the Windies.
"But I want to say a big, big thank you to our fans who’ve kept faith with us when things looked bleak.
"ICC events have always brought out the magic in Sri Lanka cricket, and I look forward to proving that once again.
"We have a clear plan toward the World Cup, and we will work hard at achieving each step.
"I know you will see Sri Lanka’s special brand of cricket out there once again soon."
Only a 5-0 series win or 4-0 with a tie or no-result against England would have seen West Indies pip Sri Lanka before the cut-off point.
But having failed to qualify for the elite Champions Trophy tournament in Britain earlier this year, West Indies suffered a 13th defeat in their last 14 completed ODIs against England in the series opener at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
The next World Cup, the fifth to be staged in Britain, will take place from May 30-July 15 2019.