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Friday, September 6, 2019

Lasith Malinga hat-trick + 1 & 100 wickets in T2OI

Despite his team's defeat in the second T20 international against New Zealand, Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga took heart from the fact that the youngsters in his team are fighting hard and giving their best.  Chasing 162 in the second game, New Zealand held their nerve to secure a four-wicket win in the final over. It was their second such win, after they chased down a competitive target, with five wickets in hand, in the first game as well. So far, New Zealand have managed to thwart any attempts by Sri Lanka to assert their dominance.  "We tried our best. All the youngsters gave it their all and we had a decent score," Malinga said after the defeat on Tuesday, 3 September 2019.

Nice words from the skipper ~ the man who played a Test last in Aug 2010 and ODI on Jul 26,2019.. .. today at Pallekele in 3rd T2o against NZ  – he is on a song – at the time of posting this @ 21.23 hrs – his figures read - : 3-1-5-5 – yes 5 wickets including a hat-trick (in fact 4 off 4) :  Colin Munro @ 2.3 overs bowled Malinga for 12; Hamish Rutherford lbw next ball; then Colin de Grandhomme bowled off the first ball (completing the hattrick with some tension on whether Malinga had overstepped); then Ross Taylor lbw for 0; in the next over he returned to claim the wicket of Seifert caught by Gunathilaka.

With this Malinga has become the first International Cricketer to take 100 wickets in T2oI.   Separamadu Lasith Malinga has a modest 101 wickets off 30 Tests; big 338 wickets in 226 ODIs and now 104 wickets in 76 T20s.

At a time when critics had started writing him off, he fared well in IPL 2019 too.  The Finals was a last ball humdinger.    Jasprit Bumrah (2-14) wass the Man of the Match. Not only he bowled a great penultimate over but stayed cool throughout – he held the match under his control.  This IPL did see some falter - Kuldeep Yadav, India's premier left-arm wristspinner, had a season to forget, taking only four wickets in nine games before being shanked out of the Kolkata Knight Riders XI after being torn apart by Royal Challengers Bangalore.  Not sure whether his confidence was dented or the team did not back him up – that way Dhoni would stand out for his backing players, be it Watson or Rayudu.      The wily  Lasith Malinga was back and back at his best with the last over of IPL 2019.  

Fittingly enough for the finals, it was last over, last ball humdinger. Slinga Malinga, not the fierce bowler once he was bowling to nervy Shardul Thakur.  A packed crowd of 33,209 at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium, Hyderabad and millions on TV and every other gadget were tense.   The first five balls from Malinga were all pinpoint yorkers or hard-to-hit low full-tosses that were clocked at 142.3kph, 143kph, 141.7kph, 140.6kph and 140.3kph. Sunil Gavaskar on air reckoned Malinga "doesn't have the pace anymore". But, here was Malinga - creaky knees and all - willing himself to breach the 140kph mark again and again. The final delivery when a mere 2 or even 1 was required, was a slower dipping Yorker from Malinga - a 112.3kph slower ball floated into the toes of Thakur, but it still had the torpedo effect of a yorker.  Malinga had won it – the cup for MI.  The tall  Kieron Pollard hoisted Malinga on his shoulders and ferried him around the ground. Malinga's former Sri Lanka captain and current Mumbai coach Mahela Jayawardene then indulged in some bromance that might have made Kumar Sangakkara jealous.  

Today, for the third time in the T20 series, Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first against New Zealand. The hosts made two injury-forced changes to the XI that lost on Tuesday. Seam-bowling allrounder Lahiru Madushanka made  his T20 international debut, in place of Shehan Jayasuriya, while opener Danushka Gunathilaka entered the side in place of Kusal Mendis, who sustained a hairline fracture in his leg in a collision with Jayasuriya in the last match. This is Gunathilaka's first match since he was disciplined for breaking curfew during a Test last year.  Gunathilaka's offence is related to a separate criminal investigation into sexual assault, which had allegedly occurred at the team hotel. The Sri Lanka Police reiterated that Gunathilaka was not a suspect in the criminal investigation, but another man, who is known to Gunathilaka, had been arrested as a suspect.

Today  clearly belongs to the one of the great limited-overs bowlers in his pomp, Lasith Malinga  who gained a reputation for delivering searing inswinging yorkers from a round-arm action as destructive as it was distinctive.  He grew and started mesmerizing players with that  yorker, a deceptive slower ball, and an excellent bouncer . .. and what a performance this day !

Well done Lasigh Malinga

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Sept. 2019

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