Third for Sri Lanka, third at World Cups - Retiring Malinga's brilliant ODI career

By Sports Desk July 26, 2019

Lasith Malinga has played his final ODI, starring for Sri Lanka in Friday's victory against Bangladesh in Colombo.

The Lions seamer went out in style as he took three wickets for 38 runs - his dismissal of Mustafizur Rahman wrapping up the win - in a 91-run triumph.

Malinga will continue to play 20-over internationals until next year's T20 World Cup, but it was in the 50-over format that he first established himself as a worldwide bowling icon.

Marking the end of a brilliant career, we take a look at how he compares to the very best.

 

ONE OF SRI LANKA'S ELITE

Malinga ends his career at number three on Sri Lanka's list of ODI wicket-takers, having claimed 338 from 220 innings.

Only the great Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) can better that tally, both playing considerably more innings - 334 and 319 respectively.

That puts Malinga ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando and team-mate Thisara Perera, with his average of 28.87 better than each of those four players, too.

 

HIS PLACE AMONG THE GREATS

Those figures unsurprisingly put Malinga high on the all-time worldwide list, too.

The 35-year-old is ninth in a table that again sees compatriot Muralitharan on top, also trailing Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Vaas, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Counting only seamers in ODIs, Malinga is seventh, with Javagal Srinath (315 wickets) the next after him.

He also collected three hat-tricks, which is more than any other bowler in ODI history, while he had eight five-wicket hauls.

 

A GENUINE WORLD CUP STAR

A rare bowling list that Muralitharan does not lead is that of Cricket World Cup wickets, where he is second behind McGrath. Malinga, with 56, 15 behind the leader, is third.

That total came from just 28 innings as Malinga produced his best on the big stage, playing in four World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) and taking 12 or more wickets in each of them. No other bowler has taken at least 10 wickets in more than three tournaments.

Sri Lanka were runners-up in 2007 and 2011, and big-game player Malinga took a hat-trick in each tournament. He took four wickets from four balls for the first of those against South Africa.

Related items

  • Pep's City shine a light through the FFP rain clouds Pep's City shine a light through the FFP rain clouds

    The Financial Fair Play rain clouds that have been lingering for so long over Manchester City finally burst on Friday.

    And yet, through the uncertain, murky gloom – which was not completely at odds with the Manchester weather earlier on this cold February day – there shined a familiar ray of hope.

    Just as the rain subsided physically, so too can the storm pass – at least for this season – if Wednesday's evidence in City's 2-0 beating of West Ham is anything to go by. 

    The full repercussions of the bombshell of a two-season ban from European competition and a €30million fine administered by UEFA for what the organisation's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) deemed "serious breaches" of its FFP are still some way from being felt.

    Not least because it is a ruling that barely starts the war, let alone ends it. City offered an immediate rebuttal, a denying of any wrongdoing and an intention to take their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    More battle lines were drawn when chief executive Ferran Soriano insisted allegations that City broke the rules "are simply not true" alongside an insistence the club had provided "irrefutable evidence" to the CFCB they had committed no wrongdoing. 

    It is a scenario that will rumble on for some time. 

    But here's the thing. Ultimately, you can have questions around City's financial conduct. You can feel uncomfortable about City's main means of defence throughout the process being to attack the validity of UEFA's investigation. You can even question the morality of football clubs being funded by oil-rich states.

    It is fine to harbour those legitimate concerns and still be completely in awe of the slick machine Pep Guardiola has built, one many suggested would not be possible in English football. 

    Sure, the Premier League trophy is headed to Liverpool this season and City's on-pitch shortfalls owe much to Guardiola's nonsensical decision not to replace Vincent Kompany, leaving City's defence low on numbers - the consequent re-positioning of Fernandinho after a serious knee injury to Aymeric Laporte in turn weakening his midfield.

    But there were moments against the Hammers that reminded us of what has made City so utterly joyous during the previous two all-conquering title-winning seasons.

    The intent was plain to see with a starting line-up blessed with City's wealth of attacking armoury. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings from midfield, Bernardo Silva employed further forward and Gabriel Jesus utilised wide in a front three – an intriguing subplot given it is a role he may have to fulfil against Real Madrid should Raheem Sterling not be fit and one in which he excelled as Brazil earned Copa America glory.

    Indeed, had it not been for Jesus' dalliance, City twice would have been in front inside 15 minutes. West Ham clearly came with the intention to pack the defence and the midfield. The timeless David Silva unlocked that plan after just six minutes, playing an intricate sliderule ball into the path of Jesus who opted to try and round Lukasz Fabianski rather than take the favourable option of shooting. He was guilty of similar wastefulness when, after admittedly more fortuitous play, he was found by De Bruyne.

    There was a delightful simplicity about the way City made the breakthrough. A De Bruyne corner, a front-post run by Rodri and a flicked header to the far post. 

    But the second was much more a trademark of City under Guardiola. The intricate build-up play, the link-up between De Bruyne and his fellow creative genius Bernardo Silva, and the unerring finish from the former – who continues to be the beating heart of this team.

    That such a performance came against a toothless, expensively assembled West Ham side shambling their way through a relegation battle should only partly detract from the credit City's performance deserves.

    Sterner examinations are obviously on the horizon. Namely Madrid in what is a crucial last-16 Champions League tie, where you sense the atmosphere will be significantly more hostile towards UEFA and there will need to be more vibrancy on and off the pitch, though credit should be given to those game fans turning out for a hastily rearranged Premier League fixture with little riding on it.

    Save for the brief, and somewhat unsavoury, "f*** UEFA" chants, and the self-deprecating singing of "City's going down with a billion in the bank" – a nod to a song rivals Manchester United used to taunt their blue neighbours with – the stands were understandably sedate and sparse.

    But for now this was the sort of riposte City required on the pitch amid the uncertain turmoil off it. 

    The FFP storm may still be gathering but with Guardiola, who has signalled his intent to stick around regardless of the outcome of the club's CAS appeal, there remains a feeling the light can shine through the dark clouds.

  • West Indies to face Karunaratne-led Sri Lanka, Thirimanne dropped West Indies to face Karunaratne-led Sri Lanka, Thirimanne dropped

    Dimuth Karunaratne has returned to the Sri Lanka ODI squad and will captain the side in their home series against West Indies, while Lahiru Thirimanne has been dropped.

    Skipper Karunaratne was one of 10 players who opted out of the last Sri Lanka ODI group that travelled to Pakistan in September amid security concerns.

    He is back in the 15-man squad to take on West Indies at home, though, with Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews among the other key players to return.

    Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella is recalled and in contention to make his first ODI appearance for a year.

    Sri Lanka lost the Pakistan series 2-0 under the stewardship of Thirimanne, who is not selected this time around after contributing just 36 runs in two games.

    Minod Bhanuka, Oshada Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Angelo Perera also miss out, while Danushka Gunathilaka is injured.

    The first ODI match against West Indies will take place in Colombo on Saturday.

    Three ODI contests will be followed by two T20 games against West Indies in March, a month in which Sri Lanka will also host a two-Test series against England.


    Sri Lanka ODI squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara.

  • Jose Mourinho looking to end six-year wait – Champions League in Opta numbers Jose Mourinho looking to end six-year wait – Champions League in Opta numbers

    Jose Mourinho is hoping to end a six-year wait to win a Champions League last-16 tie when Tottenham take on RB Leipzig.

    The Spurs boss has suffered frustration in Europe's elite club competition since taking Chelsea to the last four back in 2014.

    Tottenham are at home for the first leg against Leipzig, a team they have never played before, with Atalanta taking on Valencia in the other game to take place on Wednesday.

    Here, we highlight the best Opta stats for the two Champions League fixtures.

     

    Tottenham v RB Leipzig

    6 - Mourinho last made it past the round of 16 of the Champions League six years ago, leading Chelsea to the semi-finals in 2013-14. It is also nearly 10 years since he last reached the final, with Inter in 2010.

    9 - Son Heung-min has scored nine goals in his past 10 Champions League starts. In the knockout stages with Spurs, his record is five goals in seven starts.

    20 - The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has seen more goals than any other venue in this season's Champions League (20 goals; 11 for Tottenham, 9 against).

    11 - Between them, Timo Werner (6) and Emil Forsberg (5) have scored over half of RB Leipzig's all-time goals in the Champions League (55 per cent, 11 out of 20).

    1 - Only one of Spurs' 21 Champions League home games has ended in a draw (0-0 v Milan in March 2011).

    Atalanta v Valencia

    0 - Atalanta have never played Valencia, or indeed any Spanish team, in a competitive fixture before.

    1 - The Italian team are the first Champions League debutants to make it to the knockout stages of the Champions League since Leicester City in 2016-17. The English side were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid.

    13 - Valencia are in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2012-13. It has been 13 years since they last made it past the round of 16 (2006-07).

    3 - Atalanta are the first team to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League in its current format after losing their opening three group games.

    4 - Rodrigo Moreno has been involved in four goals in five Champions League games this season (two goals, two assists). That is more than in his previous 24 matches in the competition, from which he produced two goals and one assist.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.