Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga, one of their legends of the game, has finally bowed out of One-Day International cricket, by helping his team defeat Bangladesh in the first of the three-match ODI series in Colombo. Malinga, who recently proved to be the highest wicket-taker for Lankans in the World Cup, had announced his retirement a few days ago and wanted to play in front of the home crowd for one last time.
The right-handed fast bowler had made a splash in international cricket in 2004 and immediately come into attention thanks to his unique slingy side-on action. His ability to bowl yorkers at high speed soon endeared him to fans all over the world. However, he couldn’t sustain his speed and fitness in the longest format and had to call time on his Test career in 2010 to prolong his white-ball sojourn.
An all-time great in ODI cricket
Lasith Malinga picked 3/38 in 9.4 overs in his last match, as Bangladesh made 223 runs chasing 315 to win. He gave Lanka a big boost by removing captain Tamim Iqbal for a duck and Soumya Sarkar for 15 runs and then ended the innings, by removing Mustafizur and winning the game for his country one last time. He ended with 338 wickets in 226 ODIs at an average of 28.87. He finished at the ninth spot in terms of highest wicket-takers in ODIs leapfrogging Anil Kumble.
At the end of the match, Lasith Malinga was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo, “I think it’s the correct time to retire. I’ve played last 15 years for Sri Lanka. Really honoured and happy to play with the crowd belong. I feel it’s the right time to move [on] because we have to look forward to 2023. That’s when I knew my time is over.
“Winning is very important because we’re a young team and we’re looking to win. The captain expected me to take a wicket throughout my career […] I tried my best that’s why I succeeded. You have to be yourself. These young bowlers have to now get match-winning performances. People should say, “he is a match-winner”.”
Lasith Malinga remains the only bowler in ODI cricket to take 4 wickets in 4 balls in an over, a feat he achieved in 2007 World Cup against South Africa. He has two hat-tricks in World Cup and picked three hat-tricks in ODI cricket, the most by a bowler in the format. His best figures remained 6/38 and had 8 fifers in the format.
Here’s how cricketing fraternity reacted to his retirement:
The ideal farewell for #LasithMalinga, big contributor of the game and many youngsters at various levels have learnt a lot from him. Well bowled Champion 👏💥
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) July 27, 2019
Congratulations on the glorious journey Yorker King #Malinga. There will never be another toe crusher like you again. Best wishes for your future endeavours. 👊#LasithMalinga pic.twitter.com/Uf0iD3SHdL
— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) July 26, 2019
Wat a Career he had in d international level. He has carried Srilankan cricket on his shoulders for so many years by his sheer performances. He has a heart of a lion 🦁 Congratulations on a great Career #LasithMalinga Best wishes for ur future 👍👏 God bless u always pic.twitter.com/7O8W8cXKbD
— MANOJ TIWARY (@tiwarymanoj) July 26, 2019
— Suresh Raina🇮🇳 (@ImRaina) July 26, 2019
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 26, 2019
Fortunate to share the dressing room with you. I know how good planner, motivator and human being you are. Indeed, you are a great performer. Your fighting spirit is inspiring to all. ODI cricket will miss you & you will be remembered always. Good bye legend. #ThankYouMalinga pic.twitter.com/hX5cr69BbK
— Mustafizur Rahman (@Mustafiz90) July 26, 2019
Only Bowler to take 2 WC Hatricks, total 3 ODI hatricks, & a man who made so many aspirations and beliefs come true in young cricketers, that one can succeed & like how, even with an unconventional bowling action. One of the all time greats & a great ambassador, #ThankYouMalinga pic.twitter.com/5GAByLTqFv
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 26, 2019
Wat a Final spell!
Wat a legendary career from a legendary player, a true gentleman & have been a great inspiration for many | lucky enough to play together! 👏👏 #SLvBAN #ThankYouMalinga @Lasith99Malinga
PS – Gud luck for the T20s
— Danushka Gunathilaka (@danushka_70) July 26, 2019
If I had to pick one match winner among many others for @mipaltan in the last decade, this man will be on the top for sure. As a captain he give me breather during tense situation and he never failed to deliver, such was his presence within the team. Best wishes LM for the future pic.twitter.com/gJJJKy8gL3
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) July 26, 2019
Classic Mali spell 🎯 Thank you for everything you've done for cricket. Always admired you and will always continue to do so 🤗.
— Jasprit Bumrah (@Jaspritbumrah93) July 26, 2019
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