Malinga strikes …. and grows in stature

Y. B. Sarangi, in The Hindu

Lasith Malinga has carved a niche for himself in world cricket for some time now and he continues to grow in stature by the dint of his extraordinary showing with the ball. The Sri Lankan bowler, as famous for his locks as his unique slingshot action, swiftly overcame the disappointment of his country’s loss to India in the World Cup final a week ago and produced a dazzling performance for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Sunday.

 Pic by AP

Malinga, donning the Mumbai Indians’ blue that strikingly resemble the Lankan colours, looked like continuing with his fine performance in the World Cup. His figures of five for 13, the third best in IPL history, spoke volumes about his effectiveness. Malinga’s dominance was spell-binding. Be it his toe-crushing yorkers or sharp low full tosses which beat the batsmen with the pace or the well-concealed slower ones, the 27-year-old executed them with authority.  

By ruthlessly castling the first four of his five victims, he not only sniffed life out of the Delhi batting line-up but also left the home team a demoralised lot. “I always practise my yorkers as it is a wicket-taking ball,” said Malinga. “I never mind what the wicket is like, I never mind who the batsman is. I think of what I have to do,” said the supremely confident pacer.

Accuracy has been the high point of Malinga’s career. It is the sole reason behind Malinga’s emergence as a potent weapon in the Twenty20 format over the years. It also explains another part of his effort which often goes unnoticed — keeping the batsmen quiet (like bowling a maiden to Sehwag on Sunday). “Viru is a good batsman. But I think I can do that and I try my best. I always try to bowl a good line and length,” he said. Malinga’s formula to handle reputed batsmen is simple. “They have some ability which they can do. I try to do my best,” he said.


‘Malinga show’ stuns Daredevils

Rakesh Rao in The Hindu

Lasith Malinga says he aims for the batsmen’s toes and loves to take wickets. On this day, this affable Lankan stayed on target. Four times this afternoon, his toe-crushing yorkers crashed into the stumps. The ‘Man-of-the-Match’ also became only the third bowler to take five wickets in the Indian Premier League while doing his bit to stop Delhi Daredevils for an embarrassing 95.

Mumbai Indians rode on the shoulders of a calm Sachin Tendulkar to complete an easy eight-wicket victory. Tendulkar, dropped by Sehwag on seven off Morne Morkel, finished the chase by reaching 46 in a chase without much flourish and flamboyance.

No contest

The visiting team was indeed the favourite but what must have left a packed house hugely disappointed was the manner in which the host caved in. As a result, the match never rose as a contest. Tendulkar later mentioned that the “slow” playing surface at the Ferozeshah Kotla needed the batsmen to be cautious and a total of 135 could have been a “fighting” one. But Malinga ensured Delhi did not have much to fight with.


Malinga twice delivered twin-blows to leave the host gasping. All four victims were left to survey their shattered stumps. In between, he bowled a rare maiden over to Sehwag. He finished the job by taking his fifth wicket that also ended Delhi’s innings.

The ‘Malinga Show’ commenced after Virender Sehwag chose to bat and put 10 runs on the board off the opening over from Harbhajan Singh. Minutes after Sehwag got the crowd going with a long-off six off Harbhajan, Malinga struck, and struck again. The explosive Aussie left-hander David Warner was yorked. Two deliveries later, young debutant Unmukt Chand suffered a similar fate attempting an aggressive stroke. With Sehwag still around and looking good, the packed galleries expected a counterattack. But that was not to be.

After Aaron Finch played to short fine-leg, Sehwag called for a run but underestimated Tendulkar’s throw. The direct-hit to the striker’s end sent back Sehwag and put Mumbai Indians firmly in command.

Tame surrender

When Harbhajan had Finch caught at deep square leg to reduce the host to 40 for four, a mismatch clearly looked on cards. The 42-run stand between Naman Ojha and Venugopala Rao raised visions of Delhi managing a competitive total. However, what followed was a tame surrender. Ojha holed out to Malinga and Irfan Pathan was run out to the first ball he faced. Malinga returned for his second spell and again struck twice by removing Rao and Morkel, in one over. Then Harbhajan had Umesh Yadav stumped. Malinga claimed his fifth wicket by snaring last-man Ashok Dinda.

The scores:

Delhi Daredevils: David Warner b Malinga 1 (3b), Virender Sehwag (run out) 19 (16b, 1×6, 2×4), Unmukt Chand b Malinga 0 (2b), Aaron Finch ct Rayudu b Harbhajan 8 (12b), Naman Ojha ct Malinga b Murtaza 29 (30b, 1×6, 2×4), Venugopala Rao b Malinga 26 (25b, 3×4), Irfan Pathan (run out) 0, Roef van der Merwe (not out) 8 (6b, 1×4), Morne Morkel b Malinga 0 (2b), Umesh Yadav st. Davy Jacobs b Harbhajan 0 (4b), Ashok Dinda c Franklin b Malinga 0 (5b), Extras (w-4) 4,

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