On April 10, 2011 Lasith Malinga picked up his maiden five-for for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Daredevils in Mumbai’s season opener at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. Sarang Bhalerao revisits this scintillating display of fast bowling from Malinga.
There is really nothing apart from a barrage of yorkers, slow and-low full tosses, a bouncer (as a surprise element) and unremitting line around stumps when you talk about Lasith Malinga’s bowling. Yet, deciphering Malinga proved to be Delhi Daredevils’ Achilles’ heel. Malinga kick-started Mumbai Indians’ campaign in grand fashion by bundling Delhi for 95 which resulted in a lopsided contest at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Delhi won the toss and chose to bat. The Delhi opening combination of Virender Sehwag and David Warner was crucial. Both batsmen have the ability to take the game away from the opposition in matter of minutes. Mumbai Indians captain Sachin Tendulkar gave the opening over to Harbhajan Singh in order to surprise the openers. But the move proved counterproductive as Sehwag took the aerial route to the very first delivery he faced. He got just a couple of runs as the outfield was slow because of rains in the morning. Sehwag was on the lookout for boundaries early on. The next ball was hit inside-out over long-off for a six. Harbhajan’s first over yielded 10 runs.
It was now Malinga to Sehwag from the other end — a week after India’s World Cup triumph at the Wankhede Stadium. Malinga had then got Sehwag off his second delivery. This time Sehwag got a single towards third man off Malinga’s first ball.
Malinga then produced a toe-crusher to Warner, who had no clue how to tackle the delivery. The fact that the ball swung in late made it difficult for Warner to negotiate. In walked IPL debutant Unmukt Chand . He tried to hit the second ball off his innings over mid-wicket, but Malinga had bowled a slower length-ball. Unmukt played the ball tad early and the ball breached his defence and knocked out the middle-stump. In a matter of four deliveries Malinga had turned the tide in Mumbai’s favour.
Delhi captain Sehwag was still batting and had to shepherd his young batsmen against Malinga — the slinging sensation. Sehwag guided the last ball of Malinga’s first over for a boundary towards third man. The Sri Lankan’s second over was a maiden. Sehwag did not take any risks whatsoever. The defensive avatar of Sehwag highlighted the fact that Delhi did not want to lose any further wickets and certainly not against Malinga who has the propensity to run through the batting order in a matter of few deliveries.
But Delhi lost Sehwag courtesy of a run-out and then Aaron Finch too departed in the 7th over for eight. Delhi were reeling at 40 for the loss of four wickets after seven overs. Tendulkar then used his fifth bowler, Pollard in the middle overs. Left-arm spinner Ali Murtuza too bowled well. Delhi did not take too many chances as the early loss of wickets hurt them.
In the 15th over, Delhi lost Naman Ojha for 29 and Irfan Pathan was run out for a duck. Delhi were in danger of getting bowled out. Tendulkar got Malinga into the attack and went for the kill. He got the prized scalp of the well-set Venugopal Rao. It was a low full-toss which the batsman under-edged onto his stumps. With seven wickets and 88 runs on the board in the 16th over, Delhi had to first play out their quota of 20 overs. But Malinga was simply unstoppable. He first broke Morne Morkel’s bat and then produced another lethal yorker that went past Morkel.
Delhi lost Yadav in the next over off Harbhajan. When the 17th over ended Delhi had lost nine wickets for 90 runs, the onus of playing out the three overs was on Roelof Van der Merwe. Malinga was hit for a boundary by Van der Merwe past long-on. He took a single off the second delivery of the over exposing No 11, Ashok Dinda against Malinga. It took Malinga only two deliveries to bamboozle Dinda. Malinga bowled a slower length delivery to Dinda who played the ball early. The ball was safely pouched by James Franklin at mid-off. Delhi was all out for a paltry 95. Malinga’s bowling figures were 3.4-1-13-5.
Mumbai chased down the target losing only two wickets.
Brief scores: Delhi Daredevils 95 in 17.4 overs ( Malinga 5 for 13) lost to Mumbai Indians 99 for 2 in 16.5 overs (Tendulkar 46*)
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter @bhaleraosarang)