Having already established himself as the most sought-after bowler in T20 cricket, Lasith Malinga raised his bar a notch higher during the 2012 Big Bash League, returning staggering figures of 6-7 from four overs against Perth Scorchers at the WACA.
Twenty20 allows bowlers just 24 deliveries to affect a match. It’s barely sufficient to find your rhythm. For Lasith Malinga, he of the sideways-arm, slingy-delivery fame, it’s more than enough. Against the Perth Scorchers in 2012 he took 6-7. Six wickets for seven runs, in 24 balls – there were only four runs off the bat. Fair to say he made his mark.
It started in his first over, the second of the match. Three dots, a single and a couple of wides, before Marcus North shapes to give himself some room and it’s fast, straight and all over. Two wickets down for seven runs, following Herschelle Gibbs’ dismissal in the opening over.
Next time the ball’s in his hand he’s bowling at debutant Marcus Stoinis – this is no time for greenhorns. Dot, dot, out. Three’s a charm and Stoinis is gone, a debutant’s leading edge to a back of a length delivery. The Scorchers are 16-4 and Malinga’s going at 2-1-3-2. Then comes a surprise. Shane Warne, that esteemed professor of funky captaincy, removes Malinga from the attack.
It’s 55-5 when he next comes on – the Scorchers have taken the liberty of adding 39 runs for the loss of just one wicket and Malinga’s wants back in. Having dealt in fast yorkers up until this point he decides to introduce his slower ball and the rest, as they say when they’re resorting to hackneyed cliché, is history.
Hilton Cartwright goes, mistiming a slower one to mid-wicket, and it’s the first of four sublime slower ones. Next up in the show-reel of deception it’s Nathan Coulter-Nile, trapped hopelessly and haplessly in front.
He’s just finished a T20I tour of Australia, but how good was this spell from Lasith Malinga back in BBL|02?! ? pic.twitter.com/33CMspbEWE
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) November 4, 2019
55-7. It’s now Malinga’s final over. He’s not done yet, another beauty of a slower ball does for wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt – it arcs around his bat, grips the pitch, clips the top of off and leaves him looking out of his depth. And there’s one more, another slower ball, and this time it’s Joe Mennie and he’s bowled. The Scorchers are in dire straits and, as Malinga probably didn’t think to himself, that’s Mennie for nothing and six for me.
First published in March 2014