Home > Features >

Lasith Malinga: Sri Lanka’s key weapon for 3rd ODI against South Africa

Lasith-Malinga-of-Sri-Lanka-bowls-during-the-ICC-World-Twenty20-Bangladesh-2014-Group-1-match--3-22
Lasith Malinga took four wickets in the 2nd ODI against South Africa © Getty Images (File Photo)

Lasith Malinga, lynchpin of Sri Lanka’s pace attack for the past decade has elevated his game to new heights in 2014. After yet another match winning performance against South Africa in the second One-Day International (ODI), R Vishal analyses the Sri Lankan’s love affair with the Proteas.

The setting was the ICC World Cup 2007. While chasing down a modest total against Sri Lanka, South Africa are within touching distance of their target. They just need six runs from 32 balls with five wickets in hand. Cynics can point out to the Proteas’ infamous history of sabotaging wins in the final quarter of the contest. This, however was not one such occasion.

Those toe-crashing yorkers, wicked slower balls bowled with supreme control and unorthodox sling-arm action from Lasith Malinga were in full cry. Four wickets fell in as many deliveries and Malinga had made the meanest arrival on the world stage. South Africa just about got home in that contest. Since then, Malinga has had plenty of fascinating duels against the African nation.

It has not been a one way street by any means. Out of the 15 games that the pacer has played against South Africa, he has gone for 50 runs or more in eight out of the games. On three occasions, Malinga even went for more than seven an over. It’s a sharp contrast to a bowler, who maintains a miserly economy-rate of a touch under six even on flat decks and against boundary-hungry willowy-wielders of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The leakage of runs could be attributed to the Protea top-order’s supreme expertise against pace. While he has gone for runs aplenty, the wickets have come in heaps too. Actually, along with a solitary five-wicket haul, he has three four-wicket hauls to his name against South Africa. The last of his four-wicket haul came in the second One Day International (ODI) at  Pallekele.

With the third and the decisive ODI coming up, South Africa would be keen to restore a modicum of parity to their wretched record in the Island nation. In crunch encounters in the recent past, Malinga has elevated his game by several notches. Earlier in his career, he was accused of going missing when his team banked on him to set the stage on fire. In the ICC World Cup 2007 and 2011 finals respectively, his opponents outsmarted him and was singled out for his country’s defeats in back-to-back finals.

However, 2014 has witnessed the full bloom of the Galle-born speedster. Scintillating performances in the Asia Cup 2014 final was followed by some of the best death bowling in recent times in the ICC World T20 2014 final against India. With a total of 31 wickets in 15 games and with an impressive average of 21.32, Malinga will be relishing the occasion and the opposition on view in the third ODI. It was after all against South Africa, where the 30-year old’s incredible journey kick-started.

(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Nepal to host world’s first blind women’s cricket series

All India Public Sector Cricket Tournament to be held in Mumbai

Mitchell Johnson: We need to use new ball well tomorrow

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan proud at scoring record 25th Test ton

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Younis Khan becomes first Pakistan batsman to score a ton against each of the Test-playing nations

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here