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Sling shocked!

Broken bats, limping batsmen and disturbed timber. These are the images that bring forth the destructive powers of Lasith Malinga, the slinger from Sri Lanka. Subhash Rajta reports. Number games and more

cricket Updated: Apr 11, 2011 01:08 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
IPL2011

Broken bats, limping batsmen and disturbed timber. These are the images that bring forth the destructive powers of Lasith Malinga, the slinger from Sri Lanka.

On Sunday, the packed Ferozshah Kotla witnessed it in abundance. Yet, more than these regular images associated with Malinga, it was his maiden over to Virender Sehwag that topped the symbols of his skill.

Keeping Sehwag quiet for six balls in a row is a task that borders on the realm of the unthinkable. It becomes just impossible when he's in as murderous a mood as he was on Sunday.

He had started off with a brutal assault on Harbhajan Singh and looked hell bent on destroying the Mumbai Indians. Nonetheless, Malinga forced him to get as defensive as he ever could.

But before the Delhi captain could show his team how to keep his high-paced toe-crushing yorkers out, Malinga had already pushed the hosts on the backfoot by picking up two wickets in his very first over. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/110411/11_04_11-metro-16d.jpg

David Warner, one of the most feared batsmen in this format, perhaps didn't even see the ball that crashed into his stumps, and Delhi boy Unmukt Chand paid the price for his audacity - he tried to heave Malinga over midwicket with the obvious result.

Breathing fire

When he returned for his second spell after his furious first two overs, Malinga was still breathing fire. The yorkers came out with the same pace and precision and found the stumps, this time that of Venugopal Rao and Morne Morkel.

Ashok Dinda managed to save his toes and stumps by holing out to James Franklin to see Malinga raise his arms in jubilation for taking a five-wicket haul, and Delhi despair after being shot out for 95.

In between Malinga's overs, Daredevils had a chance to regroup and get the innings back on track. However, they looked so shaken by that early assault that they blew away the only chance they had.

It all started with the run out of Virender Sehwag. The Delhi skipper was the only batsman who looked comfortable in the middle, but a needless run out not only triggered a collapse, but also brought to the fore how little his side had in terms of batting. They all came and went back without making much of an impact. And when Malinga returned, the writing was clear on the wall.

Chasing a total of just 95 was never going to stretch the Mumbai Indians, and it never did. In the end, Sachin Tendulkar's calm and composed 46 not out took them to an emphatic eight-wicket victory.