Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga entered the singular immortality as the greatest fast bowler of all-time becoming the only bowler in international cricket history to claim two four-wicket hat-tricks in four balls with the incredible figures of 5 wickets for 6 runs in a facile 37-run routing of New Zealand in the third T20 at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
The 36-year old put age into a backseat in the unique heroics of the incredibility further lampooning his image into soaring heights in remarkably the Everest of his career as he lit up the game under the night sky roaring home crowd in his second over hat-trick spell claiming the wickets of T.L. Seifert caught hy Danushka Gunathilaka for 8, Rutherford leg before wicket, clean bowling Grandhomme and Taylor leg before wicket for ducks in absolutely uprooting deliveries, the last two of Grandhomme and Taylor simply unplayable leaving the batsmen standstill. It ripped New Zealand apart, tottering on 4 for 15 after just 3 overs in the ballooning magical Malinga feat in what was a repeat performance of his 4 wickets in four balls against South Africa in the 2007 world cup.
It was a defining truly rocket science decorative spellbinding feat likening Malinga fittingly in the decorative slogan of the, ‘bold and the beautiful’ as the unorthodox great unleashed the unique side arm toe crushing Yorker havoc that has set him apart as ‘the’ bowling phenomenon of the 21st century in a unique hat-trick hall of fame of his alone – five in all –of the down South Ratgama product who was discovered to the game from softball beach cricket confines. It was a timely winning act for self and country in resonating the proud national cricketing ‘One Team, One Nation’ slogan in lifting the side from the dumps of 2-nil down to a Consolation win as the skipper aptly compensated defending a poor 125 for 8 total.
When Sri Lanka batted, Danushka Gunathilaka, who was playing only because of injury to Kusal Mendis, indeed took a rap at the selectors by a 25-ball top score of 30 inclusive of 4 boundaries while the next best of 24 off 15 containing 3 boundaries came from vice captain Niroshan Dickwella.
Sri Lanka 125/8 (20 Overs) Run Rate: 6.25(M.D. Gunathilaka 30, N. Dickwella 24, L.D. Madushanka 20, P.W.H. de Silvan.o. 14, M.J. Santner 3/12)
New Zealand 88 All out (16 Overs) Run Rate: 5.5 (T.G. Southee n.o. 28, M.J. Santner 16, C. Munro 12, S. L. Malinga 5/6, A. Dananjaya 2/28)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-