Malinga marks return with match-winning spell against UAE

Sri Lanka 129 for 8 (Chandimal 50, Javed 3-25) beat UAE 115 for 9 (Patil 37, Malinga 4-26) by 14 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Playing his first match since November 2015, Lasith Malinga found the blockhole straightaway © AFP

At the innings break, UAE would have had hopes of a fourth straight win in the tournament, having restricted Sri Lanka to 129 for 8. Those hopes, however, were snuffed out in the first over in which Lasith Malinga struck twice to wreck UAE’s chase and ultimately lead his side to a 14-run win. Malinga marked his return to international cricket with returns of 4 for 26.

The UAE bowlers had done well to restrict Sri Lanka for a less than average score in Mirpur. In fact the 129 for 8 was one run less than what the UAE captain Amjad Javed had said he wanted to restrict his opponents to, after he decided to field. But their batsmen were not as inspired as their bowlers and were shut out for 115 for 9 in 20 overs.

Malinga, playing in his first competitive match since November 2015, trapped Rohan Mustafa leg-before off the first ball of the chase with a fast, straight and full ball that was only destined to hit the stumps. Off the last ball of the first over, Mohammad Shahzad was duped by a 113.7 kph slower ball, and was bowled for 1.

Nuwan Kulasekara got into the act, too, removing Muhammad Kaleem and Muhammad Usman in the fourth over. Kaleem lofted one needlessly to mid-off before Usman’s uncharacteristic slog ended in a simple catch to Chamara Kapugedara at first slip. UAE finished the fourth over at 16 for 4.

Shaiman Anwar quickly counter-attacked in the next over, striking Angelo Mathews for fours through midwicket before Swapnil Patil played a pull off Mathews for a beautiful six over the same region.

UAE, however, had more bad news around the corner. Rangana Herath, playing his first T20 international since the 2014 World T20, was brought into the attack and straightaway removed UAE’s last hope, Anwar, with an arm ball that took a thin outside edge on its way to the keeper.

Herath then removed Saqlain Haider in his next over, reducing UAE to 47 for 6 at the halfway mark of their innings. But Patil held firm, hitting Herath for a six, playing a late cut off Milinda Siriwardana for a boundary and taking two fours off Dushmantha Chameera in the 15th over to bring the equation to 53 off the last five overs. Patil kept trying to find the boundaries but he, too, fell to a Malinga slower ball, giving the bowler a simple return catch. Patil top-scored with 37 off 36 balls with the three fours and two sixes, and he added 38 runs for the seventh wicket with Javed, who scored 13 off 18 balls.

Malinga completed his four-wicket haul when he removed Mohammad Naveed in his last over. Kulasekara took three wickets while Herath finished with two.

The first half of the game, however, was an altogether different picture as Javed took three wickets while Mohammad Naveed and Mohammad Shahzad picked up two each. Rohan Mustafa also took one wicket as Sri Lanka slumped after a strong start.

Full report to follow

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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