Hope youngsters will gain inspiration from my performance - Malinga | Daily News


Hope youngsters will gain inspiration from my performance - Malinga

Lasith Malinga greeting cricket fans
Lasith Malinga greeting cricket fans

PALLEKELE, Saturday – At 36 when most fast bowlers are thinking of hanging up their boots Lasith Malinga showed there is still fire left in him by bowling his team to victory over New Zealand in the third and final T20 International with a sensational burst at the Pallekele International Stadium on Friday.

Malinga’s exceptional figures of five wickets for six runs off four overs included a hat-trick and four wickets off four balls a performance that completely derailed the Black Caps’ batting reducing them to 23-5 and eventually 88 all out in pursuit of a moderate Sri Lankan total of 125-8.

At the end of his heroics that won him the Player of the Match award Malinga said, “I am really happy that I could take four wickets in four balls in the T20I as well because I am playing in the latter part of my career. All the younger players who played with me could see that with their own eyes. I hope they would take it as an inspiration and possibly may think of performing something like this in the future.”

Malinga is the only bowler in international cricket to take four wickets in four balls in ODI and T20I cricket. He performed the feat in ODI cricket against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup.

When he took his first wicket that of Colin Munro, Malinga established another record by becoming the first bowler to capture a century of wickets in T20 Internationals.

Malinga was modest with his achievement at the Pallekele Stadium and said, “It’s just another achievement for me. It happened today and its history now. If I was hit (badly) tomorrow, all these four wickets and the achievements are forgotten. Therefore I consider that as just another achievement. My aim is to give my best as long as I play. I cannot be successful every day. On the day I am successful, I am willing to finish off the game. Some days it may go right and other days it may go wrong.”

Malinga said that he always approached a match with the thought of turning the game around in his team’s favour.

“The skill that I have in taking wickets, considering my experience, is more than any other player. It is something that I believe in. I want to control the game as soon as I get the ball to my hand,” said Malinga.

Explaining how he got his name into the record books with four for four Malinga said, “After taking the first wicket, the newcomer (Hamish Rutherford) was an inexperienced left hander. I thought of getting him out with the first ball. My best weapon is the inswinging yorker. So I thought of using that and he was out.

“Then came Colin de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor. These two guys have been a real headache for us throughout the series. Other bowlers had failed to get them, when we needed their wickets in other matches. I was thinking of how to get these two guys and I knew we could win the game if we get them. I was thinking that ‘if I could bowl two yorkers, then why not the third. So I got back my mental preparations before I bowled the yorker and walked back to my run up.

“Timing and accuracy was there and I got the third wicket. When I got the third, I was thinking again why not the fourth. It was all the same preparation again and I did it. I know what I should to take a wicket. If the team needs a wicket, no matter how many runs are hit off me I try to take the wicket. That’s the risk I take. Risk has been part and parcel of my life on and off the field. I like taking risks. Young cricketers should also have the courage to take risks then only you can win a game,” Malinga said.

Malinga is of the view that despite the 1-2 series loss the team was gradually settling into a unit.

“If you take the results of the first two matches they are losses. But how we played the game is the real question. We managed to drag the game to the last over in both matches. Everyone knows that there are a number of players in this team with less T20 experience. Playing with such inexperienced players, especially against a seasoned set of players like New Zealand I am happy because we matched them equally,” said Malinga.

“I think we can create a good T20 team by 2020. No matter who is captain what I want to do is to bring the good players and show them the way forward. I have no more desires or big targets to achieve. The more you win, the more you want to win. We’ll have to create that habit among the younger players. There are about 17 T20I matches to be played in the next one year before the T20I World Cup. As we go along, these players will learn,” he said.

New Zealand skipper Tim Southee said that they were only one good partnership away from turning the ground in their favour, but for Malinga.

“We realised pretty early on when we were bowling that it wasn’t going to be a big-scoring wicket compared to the two surfaces we played on for the first two games. It was a used wicket. We knew that if we restricted them to around 120 - which in hindsight we could have kept them to a little less - that we could win,” said Southee.

“At the halfway stage we were probably one big partnership away from breaking the back of the chase. But we were outdone by a piece of brilliance from Malinga.

He’s been a world class bowler for a long time now. He’s shown his class tonight. When his team needed him to stand up, to produce something like that was amazing. An amazing spell of bowling.

“I remember Herath running through us a few years ago in a T20I game in Bangladesh. That’s the nature of the game I guess.

He bowled exceptionally well. When you’re defending a score like that, early wickets is vital. When you get four in an over, it really breaks the back of a run-chase,” he said.

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