Lasith Malinga bid farewell to one-day internationals after Sri Lanka registered an emphatic 91-run victory over Bangladesh in Colombo on Friday (July 26). The veteran pacer returned with impressive figures of 2/37 in his final ODI to help Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh.
Malinga, who is well known for his lethal toe-crushers will finish as the 3rd highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in ODIs with 338 wickets in 226 innings. He was also the highest wicket-taker for his team at the 2019 World Cup – scalped 13 wickets in 7 innings.
Malinga is also the only bowler to take 2 World Cup hat-tricks, one against South Africa in 2007 and the other versus Kenya in 2011. He has always been one of the most feared pacers in the history of World Cricket.
On eve of Malinga’s ODI retirement, let’s have a look at his top 5 bowling performances for Sri Lanka:
5.) 5/52 vs Pakistan, 2014
In the 2014 Asia Cup, Sri Lanka posted a massive total of 296 on the board. During the Pakistan chase, Malinga picked up 5 wickets, 2 out of which were the big fish – Misbah Ul Haq and Shahid Afridi. He even went on to win the Man of the Match award for this brilliant performance. Sri Lanka started the tournament with a thumping win and eventually won the Asia Cup.
4.) 5/28 vs Australia, 2011
Sri Lanka had hosted Australia for a 5-match ODI series in 2011. The mighty Aussies won the first 2 ODIs but Sri Lanka bounced back by winning the third one. Malinga provided the early breakthrough by getting Watson’s wicket who had scored only 5 off 8 balls. He helped his team win by picking up 5 wickets and conceding 28 runs.
3.) 4/43 vs England, 2019
In the 2019 World Cup match against a strong England team who had the home advantage, Sri Lanka were clearly the underdogs. Malinga’s fitness was also being questioned but as they say, form is temporary, but class is permanent. He helped his team defend only 232 runs by first removing openers James Vince and Jonny Bairstow, and then getting the huge wickets of Joe Root and Jos Buttler in the middle overs. And very deservedly, Sri Lanka registered a 20-run win.
2.) 4/54 vs South Africa, 2007
In their 2007 World Cup match against Sri Lanka, South Africa at 206/5 in the 45th over, were sailing towards victory while chasing only 210 runs. With Jacques Kallis at one end, there were only 5 runs to get but those runs seemed miles away, thanks to Malinga’s awe-inspiring spell. Also getting a hat-trick in the process, Malinga’s 4/54 made life difficult for South Africa towards the end, but they managed to scrape through with a one-wicket win.
1.) 5/56 vs Pakistan, 2014
Lasith Malinga’s super spell against Pakistan in the Final of the 2014 Asia Cup not only helped Sri Lanka win the tournament for the fifth time but also all the 5 wickets that fell in the Pak innings, belonged to him. He managed to dismiss the experienced Misbah-Ul-Haque and also removed the dangerous Umar Akmal in the final over, apart from his three early breakthroughs that reduced their opponents to 18/3. Pakistan finished at 260/5 in their 50 overs and Sri Lanka chased it down.