Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga may be playing his final ICC Cricket World Cup, but he is eager to go out with a bang. The 35-year old endured a tragedy when his mother-in-law passed away and he was given two days off to mourn. However, he showcased his dedication when he returned to the team early to continue Sri Lanka’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign.

Sri Lanka captain, Dimuth Karunaratne believed that Malinga set a good example for his fellow teammates. In addition to that, the speedster brought all his experience to the forefront. Karunaratne seemed perfectly content with heaping plenty of praise on Malinga after his stunning performance.

Lasith Malinga struck 4-43 and partnered with his teammates to stun England in their round robin match. In the process, Malinga also crossed the 50 wicket benchmark in the World Cup.

Karunaratne gushed, “I think he’s [Malinga] a legend. He know what he has to do. Whatever he does, he is doing his best, so that is why I said, if he wants to go home and come back, that’s fine. So I think he did that and he came back again and he gave a good example for the rest of the guys. He just keeps doing what he knows, that is the main thing, the basic things,”

“We thought if we hang in there, we definitely have a chance. We need to get a couple of wickets and we win the game – that’s what I told my boys. Keep hanging there, one or two wickets. If you can get one or two wickets, you can win the game,”

Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga, the MVP of the match

Another veteran who proved his mettle was former captain Angelo Mathews. Admittedly, the Lankan Lions were dreaming of posting a 300+ score, but had to settle for 232. At this point, many expected England to steamroll the Islanders, but they had other ideas.

“We thought it was a good, flat wicket, it would come nicely, but when you play, it was seaming a bit in the first few overs, and then suddenly it’s a bit slower and slower. We took some advice from Angelo, he said ‘It’s getting slower and slower’. So he said we couldn’t get 280-300, but if you can get 250-240, it’s a good total on this wicket.”, continued Karunaratne

“He [Mathews] knew how to play. I think he is a good finisher, he did really well, a good job, and hit his area really very well on this track, I think that is what he did. And all of the middle-order batsmen contributed really well once the openers went early, I think they did a good job,”

Then Karunaratne unleashed his secret weapon, a Sri Lankan missile called Lasith Malinga. It did not take long for the pacer to run riot and bundle out England with 20 runs to spare. Even Ben Stokes’ plucky 82* went in vain as the Lankans sealed the win.