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Kenya left devastated by the Malinga massacre

cricket Updated: Mar 02, 2011 02:29 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

On the field, he is lethal. Off it, it isn't an overstatement to refer to Lasith Malinga as lethargic.

But even after the magic spell of six for 38, which included a hat-trick off the last three balls, which set up Sri Lanka's rout of Kenya on Tuesday, the maverick from Galle couldn't relax.

Not because he had to address the post-match media briefing, but more so since he had text messages pouring in from friends and well-wishers.

As he entered the media enclosure, the new hairdo glittering more than the face, Malinga was busy replying to text messages on his Blackberry.

After becoming the first bowler to register two hat-tricks in World Cup history - his famous four-in-four against South Africa at Guyana four years ago being his first - Malinga marked his comeback in a grand style.

Off the seventh ball he bowled in this edition, having missed the first two games due to a back strain, Malinga hurled a toe-crusher at Kenya opener Seren Waters to trap him plumb. When the Obuya brothers — David and Collins — seemed in a position to help Kenya last 50 overs for the first time in the Cup, he bowled an unplayable in-swinging yorker to uproot Collins’ off-stump.

In the third spell, Malinga added four more to his kitty in a space of six balls to not only add a unique feat to his injury-marred career but also record a personal best.

Cynics may feel that Tanmay Mishra, Peter Ongondo and Shem Ngoche, the hattrick victims, were not good enough to deal with the yorkers, but such was the ferocity that most top-notch batsmen would have struggled to counter them that rammed into the stumps.

Even though the Galle Express didn’t rate it as his best spell, it was enough to set up an easy nine-wicket victory for the hosts, who were recovering from a disappointing 11-run defeat against Pakistan.