A familiar scene at nets before a Ranji match, or for that matter an international tie, is how the teams not only measure each other up but also get alarmingly competitive against their own mates. It’s no secret — no matter how successful a cricketer one is, there is always a certain veiled satisfaction in outsmarting a long time teammate.
Just over two months ago, Farveez Maharoof and Lasith Malinga were brothers-in-arms, taking Southern Express to the Super 4’s T20 title. On Sunday, they were pitted against each other in a battle for a place in cricket’s most expensive franchise tournament. Losing the game’s most lethal death bowler to a bigger team can’t really be price-tagged.
As much as Southern Express knew that along with Malinga went their best hope of turning a match in their favour, anticipation was they also knew how to counter the slinger. Malinga’s experience however was too much for Southern Express.
In this format, economical bowlers are worth their weight in gold. Sunday’s scoreboard will say Harbhajan Singh, who finished his quota by the 16th over, was Mumbai Indians’ least expensive bowler.
Malinga’s impact though was in the way he conceded just seven runs in the 18th over. Perhaps the significance of the game even influenced Mumbai Indians captain Kieron Pollard to give Malinga, who otherwise starts his spell in the second half of the innings, a fling at the Sri Lankans in the fifth over. Southern Express safely played him out and scored just two runs. But for Maharoof’s last two hits, which went for a six and four, Malinga’s job would have been complete in the last over of the innings.
He, however, had done just enough. Lendl Simmons and Mike Hussey gave Mumbai Indians a start that slowly balanced out Maharoof’s blows.
Knights beat Lions
Northern Knights crushed Lahore Lions by 72 runs to all but ensure their entry into the main round.
Brief scores Knights 170-6 (Flynn 53, Watling 53, Cheema 3-35), Lions 98 (Nasim 58, Southee 3-22).