Malinga is probably every batsman's nightmare!
Lasith Malinga, a name synonymous with lethal pace and unparalleled mastery of the yorker, has left an unquestionable mark on the cricketing world. Throughout his illustrious career, this Sri Lankan fast bowler became a symbol of excellence, captivating fans with his unique sling-arm action and the ability to turn the game in an instant. With that considered, here's a look at the best moments of his career.
Twelve years after nearly snatching a remarkable win against South Africa, Malinga replicated his feat. Dismissing Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Colin de Grandhomme, and Ross Taylor consecutively, the esteemed Sri Lankan secured his second instance of claiming four wickets in four balls in international cricket. The match, though New Zealand had already secured the series, held little significance. Malinga would participate in only a few more matches for Sri Lanka before officially retiring. Nevertheless, the fact that his most exceptional T20I performance occurred near the conclusion of his career is a testament to the enduring prowess of the seamer.
In a match that eventual champions England were expected to win, Malinga had different plans. While defending a total of 232, he swiftly dismissed Jonny Bairstow for a first-ball duck and enticed James Vince to edge one to the slips. The successive victims were Joe Root and Jos Buttler, as the seasoned seamer orchestrated an upset, putting England's qualification for the next round in jeopardy. Even at the age of 35, Malinga demonstrated his enduring capability to conjure the match-winning magic that had established his legendary status many years prior.
By 2014, Malinga was experiencing a decline in the raw pace that had been a hallmark of his early career success. However, this did not diminish his effectiveness on the field. In the 2014 Asia Cup final against Pakistan, Malinga managed to secure all five wickets for Sri Lanka, including those of captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez. This remarkable feat played a crucial role in Sri Lanka's five-wicket victory.
Despite grappling with injuries and diminishing fitness, Malinga demonstrated that these challenges were insufficient to impede his extraordinary skill level. He showcased his prowess precisely when his team needed it the most.
It is customary for the Player of the Match award to go to a member of the winning team, but there are instances where tradition seems deserving of being set aside. Such was the case in a tense encounter at Sophia Gardens, where New Zealand narrowly edged past Sri Lanka in a low-scoring thriller, thanks in large part to a formidable spell by Malinga. Defending a total of 138, Malinga displayed his prowess by dismissing Kane Williamson, Daniel Vettori, and both Brendon and Nathan McCullum. This series of breakthroughs left New Zealand on the brink, surviving by the slimmest of margins. Although Sri Lanka ultimately faced defeat, Malinga's exceptional performance brought them remarkably close to a miraculous turnaround.
As Lasith Malinga bids farewell to the cricketing arena, his legacy stands tall, etched in the memories of cricket enthusiasts around the globe. His best moments, an ensemble of victories and trials, are a lasting tribute to his skill, perseverance, and steadfast dedication towards the game. From the iconic four-in-four against South Africa to steering Sri Lanka to World Cup glory, Malinga's career encapsulates a cricketing journey well celebrated.