Lasith Malinga pulled the plug on his international career after a blistering presence for almost 13 years ever since his inception. He shone the most in white-ball cricket with dominating performances that saw him rack up 390 wickets from 295 matches.
Not only was he a menacing fast bowler but his towering presence in the shorter format of the game also saw him blazing the trail for the yorker on the fourth or the fifth stump and bowl those slow bouncers. He bowled at an excellent economy rate of 7.07 that was a burning ode to his excellent line and length.
In this story, we will take a look at two almost impossible feats that only Malinga could manifest. The man with a wide-arm unorthodox swing action stepped into the limelight after he bagged a four-fer against South Africa that almost cost them the match.
It was in the 2007 World Cup when South Africa and Sri Lanka collided in a Super Eights game at Providence. Batting first, Sri Lanka was bundled out for 209, thanks to a superior bowling performance by Charl Langeveldt who claimed a staggering fifer to dismantle the Lankan batting.
Chasing a total of 210, South Africa was well en route to their specified target as Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis pumped out a couple of decent performances. Despite a flurry of wickets towards the end, things still seemed very well in control as South Africa was stationed at 206 for the loss of 5 and needed just four runs to win the game.
That is when Malinga wreaked havoc almost sealing the deal for Sri Lanka in an astonishing display of pace. The first victim of Malinga’s incredible pursuits was Shaun Pollock who was outclassed by an exceptional inswinging yorker that kissed his timbre. The next man to follow suit was Andrew Hall who was astounded by Malinga’s pace and ended up holing to Upul Tharanga.
The next name in the list was South Africa’s set batsman, Jacques Kallis as he was left bamboozled by a moving delivery of Malinga and the resultant nick was safely pouched by Sangakkara. The final man to depart Makhaya Ntini had no idea of what just hit him as his stumps went for a walk.
It needed some desperate defending from Charl Langedveldt to allow Robin Peterson to strike the telling blow. From all the wreckage that Malinga left behind in his trail, the world took notice.
There was a second time that Malinga managed to iterate this stunt. It was in 2019 when Sri Lanka was up against New Zealand in a T20. This time, however, his magic didn’t go to waste New Zealand was bundled out for a paltry 88 in response to Sri Lanka’s 125.
This time the hunt by Malinga started with Colin Munro as he was castled clean by the Sri Lankan fast bowler. The next man to depart was Hamish Rutherford as Malinga clipped his pads with almost a similar inswing yorker. Colin de Grandhomme’s stumps took a toss with Malinga bowling in the identical line that claimed the last two wickets. The last man to depart was Ross Taylor whose attempt at playing a glance down the leg-side resulted in him being trapped before the wicket.
Malinga ended the match with figures of 5 wickets for 6 runs as Sri Lanka emerged as the eventual victors. The last three weeks have now seen the stepping down of two fiercest pacers of all time as Dale Steyn and Malinga walked into their respective sunsets.