Sports

Malinga bowls for Kandy, takes one for 30 in his four overs

Former ace fast-bowler of Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga, who has not played for the country since last year due to injury problems and, at times, many controversies over his statements on the local cricket administration, played for Team Kandy against Dambulla in the second match of the opening day of the SLC T20 League 2018, which began at Khettarama Tuesday, August 21.

Malinga fared reasonably well with the ball ending up having the best economy rate for Kandy bowlers despite the opposition batsman Ashan Priyanjan whacked a fiery 52-ball 108, studded with nine fours and six sixes.

Kandy’s slow left-armer Malinda Pushpakumara, though, bowled best for them taking two for 33 in his quota of four overs.

Dambulla won the match by 18 runs. They, after electing to bat first, made 202 for five in their 20 overs before restricting Team Kandy to 184 for eight in their 20 overs under lights Tuesday night. Kandy opener Thikshila De Silva top-scored with 63, which he made in 38 deliveries.

Malinga’s final figures read 4-0-30-1. He opening bowling for Kandy took the wicket of Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva for two runs in the 19th over of the Dambulla innings, which was also his last over.

Before the game Malinga had told the Sri Lanka Cricket official website that he couldn’t commit himself into saying anything on his reentry into the national side until he ‘had got a feel of things in the SLC T20 League’.

“I cannot say anything as to how good my progress will be until I perform in the first two matches of the upcoming SLC T20 League 2018,” he has told Srian Obeyesekere of SLC web-column titled ‘Padding Up’ of 21 August 2018.

Malinga was the highest wicket-taker in this year’s domestic inter-club T20 tournament won by his club NCC. Consequently he had played in Canada’s domestic T20 tournament where he was the highest wicket-taker as well.

About a week ago, Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha told media that they were ready to consider Malinga for national team selections if the bowler performs well in both bowling as well as his fielding.

Sri Lanka has a tight schedule before next year’s ICC World Cup having as many as five series, including next month’s Asia Cup in UAE, in the next nine months and are seeking to have a balanced and stable combination going into the quadrennial world event taking place in England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July 2019.