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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

IPL 8: MI’s Matinee Idol

Malinga and McClenaghan picked up 7 wickets amongst each other to restrict SRH to 137/8, chasing 158.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Mumbai |
Updated: April 26, 2015 1:09:52 am

Synopsis: Malinga sizzles and Mitch hustles to eclipse Sunrisers after Simmons’ opening gambit

Malinga sizzles

There’s a bit of the theatrical about most things that Lasith Malinga does on a cricket field. And we’re not just talking about that bowling action, which leaves everyone awe-struck even now, a decade after he slung his way into prominence. Whether it’s his four-in-four effort during the 2007 World Cup, or the plethora of feet he’s put into peril with his inimitable yorkers, you can be rest assured that there’s an OMG moment around the corner when Malinga has the ball in his hand.

Like was the case when he ran into bowl the 19th over of the Sunrisers’ run-chase with the visitors still needing 31 to win. And he responded like only he can. With 32,000, that included 17,000 under-privileged kids, screaming what has turned into Mumbai Indians’ IPL chant “Maaalingaa, Mallingaaa,” the Lankan speedster ended up bowling a maiden, which also included three wickets — Hanuma Vihara, Praveen Kumar and Dale Steyn — for good measure. It also ensured the sun set early on the hopes of the Sunrisers, giving Mumbai their first win on home soil this season.

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That wasn’t his only contribution at the Wankhede though. He had also bitten off a major chunk of Hyderabad’s challenge earlier in their innings by getting rid of David Warner for just 9 — yet again by deceiving the Australian hit-man with a slow off-cutter.

For all the hysteria that he generates with his bowling exploits, Malinga doesn’t do send-offs. Even in this era of bowlers brazenly showing off their dislike for opposition batsmen. But here, he folded his hands in a mock show of gratitude as the Sunrisers skipper left the field. And then he also pointed Warner in the direction to which he had packed him off to, when the Aussie tried turning it into a verbal duel.

Mitch hustles

For someone of Mitchell McClenaghan’s wicket-taking ability — the second-fastest to 50 wickets in ODIs — the Kiwi with the eye-catching side-partition has surprisingly been ignored during IPL auctions over the years. Till MI chose to rope him this year. And if Malinga’s the scalp-collecting ball-slinger, McClenaghan is the hustler, who keeps throwing punches all day long without ever backing down. He looks the part too. And even if the hosts had knocked Warner off early, they still had to contend with the other, not-so-bombastic threats in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, Ravi Bopara and KL Rahul. McClenaghan took care of all three.

For a change it was Dhawan who had got Sunrisers off to a flyer, smashing seven fours and a six, en route to a 29-ball 42. But then, like many before him, he underestimated the skid that the New Zealand pacer generates off the wicket despite his hit-the-wicket type of bowling action, and hit a meek pull-shot straight to Malinga, who hung on to a low catch.

With their star openers gone, Rahul and Bopara did try to keep their team afloat with a steady and unremarkable partnership — failing to score a single boundary for seven overs — before they fell to McClenaghan, both attempting horizontal strokes.

Simmons’ opening gambit

It was a day where both teams decided to finally stock their bowling arsenal with international quality. But while Malinga and McClenaghan would script a comprehensive win for their team, the world-class pairing of Steyn and Trent Boult didn’t quite set the stage on fire during the Mumbai innings. Thanks mainly to Lendl Simmons. The Trinidadian has so far struggled to replicate the sensational performances he had dished out as a replacement player last season.

Maybe it was the challenge of overcoming the Steyn-Boult duo that got him going. He wasted no time, by flicking Boult away for two boundaries in his very first over before hitting Steyn for three fours — all struck with elegance. He also launched Karn Sharma for a straight six, before being cleaned-up by Steyn for 51 — his first half-century of the season. By then, he had ensured a competitive total for Mumbai and also solved, for now anyway, their opening blues.

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