Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Malinga Made a History

Lasith Malinga announced his return to full fitness by storming his way to an unprecedented second World Cup hat-trick with an exhibition of yorker-on-demand bowling that proved too much for Kenya's tail at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The visitors imploded to 142 all out despite dogged half-centuries from the Obuya brothers, who enjoyed plenty of fortune in a determined 94-run stand that kept the varied threats of Sri Lanka's bowling at bay for nearly 30 overs. Sri Lanka's batsmen barely had to break a sweat in the chase, finishing it off in 18 overs.

The Obuyas weren't exactly convincing - testing every edge of their bat, surviving close lbw calls, regularly air-driving outside off and rarely reading the spinner's variations - but hung on obdurately to take Kenya into triple-digits. A solid platform was in place when they had hauled Kenya to 102 for 2, but Malinga's burst demolished the tail as the final eight wickets were blasted out for 40 runs. None of the other Kenyan batsmen made it past single-figures.

The Kenyan collapse was rapid: it took only 22 deliveries for them to go from 127 for 4 to being bowled out. Muttiah Muralitharan started it off by getting the set batsman David Obuya to slog-sweep to midwicket.

Then it was Malinga time. Jimmy Kamande barely found his bearings after being struck by a toe-crusher, and decided to go for a single when the ball was only a couple of metres away from him. Chamara Silva pounced from midwicket and did a passable imitation of Jonty Rhodes from 1992 to crash into the stumps and dismiss Kamande.

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