Though Lasith Malinga couldn’t get a single wicket in the World Twenty20 final against India in Dhaka last month, his biggest achievement was to captain the islanders to a world title after a gap of 28 years.
But within 10 days, the bowler with distinct hair style and action has taken charge of Mumbai Indians’ bowling, so consistent has he been in IPL 7.
After starting the season with a four-wicket haul against Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match at Abu Dhabi, he has maintained his form although that alone has not helped Mumbai Indians find their winning momentum.
However, on Monday, he was on target on a placid wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium. Sunrisers, hoping to win and slip into the top four, didn’t lose many wickets as Malinga was the only successful bowler, with two scalps. However, the Sri Lankan ace ensured the hosts were pegged to 157, despite the contributions of opener Aaron Finch (68, 62b, 7x4, 2x6) and David Warner (55 no, 31b, 6x4, 2x6).
That left MI chasing a modest target. And they once again found their man in the Caribbean opener, Lendl Simmons. An injury replacement, he had clicked straightaway after coming into the IPL against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday. However, the game ended in defeat at home. But this time his 50-ball 68 (5x4, 4x6) set the tone for the chase.
Although fellow opener CM Gautam fell in the second over, Ambati Rayudu joined Simmons and the pair put on a solid 130-run partnership to kill victory hopes for Sunrisers.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar eventually removed Simmons and Rayudu could not control a shot late in the chase, but there very few runs to get and MI sealed a seven-wicket win with eight deliveries left.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Aaron Finch, David Warner, Naman Ojha (wk), Lokesh Rahul, Moises Henriques, Irfan Pathan, Karn Sharma, Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Lendl Simmons, Chidhambaram Gautam (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Aditya Tare, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Pragyan Ojha.