Lasith Malinga has had a confusing time in the Indian Premier League 2019. Since the league is being played before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, there were earlier reports that the Sri Lankan pacer would miss the first six games for Mumbai Indians as he had to participate in the Super Provincial One Day tournament in Sri Lanka in order to be eligible for the World Cup. However, Malinga played for Mumbai Indians in the first two games of the Indian Premier League. The confusion persisted when Sri Lanka Cricket had cleared him to play the entire IPL but the chief national selector Asantha de Mel, speaking to Sportstar stating that Malinga had changed his mind and wanted to play the tournament.
In the game against Chennai Super Kings, Malinga showed his class and got the big wickets of Shane Watson (5), Kedar Jadhav (58) and Dwayne Bravo (8) as he ended with figures of 3/34 from his four overs. He bowled with good pace and despite being slightly expensive, Malinga showed that he had lost none of his venom. Immediately after the match, he flew to Colombo and he decided to play the Super Provincial One Day Tournament where he was going to lead Galle against Kandy at the Pallekele International stadium.
Despite a long international flight and having played against Chennai Super Kings in the night, Malinga showed no signs of stress and put in a magnificent performance. Galle notched up 255 all out with Kusal Mendis hitting a fifty along with solid knocks from Sandun Weerakkody and Minod Bhanuka. In response, Kandy was blown away by Malinga, who picked up 7/49, his best-ever List A bowling figures as they were bowled out for 99, losing the match by 156 runs.
Thus, in less than 24 hours, Malinga had taken combined figures of 10/83 in two different formats for two different teams in two different countries. Speaking about the achievement in the post-match presentation following Team Galle’s win, Malinga said, “I played a match last night for Mumbai Indians and got to the flight by 1:40 AM. I landed in Sri Lanka at 4:30 AM and made it to Kandy by 7:00 AM. We need to show an example to the youngsters. How an International player should commit himself to the game. I think they will learn something out of this lesson. I showed what I can do and will continue to do the same in the future. I have proved that my fitness is at the highest level and I am happy about the way I performed,” Malinga said.
It will be interesting to see whether Malinga will be available for Galle or Mumbai Indians’ next game in both the tournaments. Galle take on Dambulla in the next game at the Dambulla International stadium on April 6 while Mumbai Indians take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on the same day. However, by playing two games for two different teams in different formats, Malinga has shown his ultimate commitment and dedication to the game of cricket.