Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Malinga fond of Africans

Well yesterday another similar feat happened to Lasith Malinga when he scalped the tournament's second hat-trick after Kemer Roach had the first against Netherlands a couple of days back. This was Lasith Malinga's second hat-trick in world cup cricket when last time in 2007 he had a similar feat against South Africa in the super-eights of the world cup. In fact, Lasith Malinga's feat was a much bigger one then, for it was against a much better outfit and secondly it was a four-ball four-wicket one which is unparalleled even today. Unfortunately, Malinga's feat came a bit too late and Sri Lanka had to end up on the losing side.

South Africa was cruising towards the target with five wickets in hand with plenty of overs left. But, suddenly in came the slinger who produced the most devastating spell of the world cup that even the tournament's highest wicket-taker Glenn McGrath would have been jealous about. But, with very little work to do, the South African tail-end batsman did what was expected off him and saw his team through. That was Sri Lanka's first defeat in that world cup and the only team other than Australia who beat them in that world cup. Then onwards Sri Lanka beat New Zealand twice, West Indies and England.

This was the second African team that Malinga took a hat-trick but this would hardly come in for much applause considering the team against which he achieved the feat. Malinga's feat was just one step better than Roach's for he had the 7th, 8th and the 9th batsmen under his name unlike Roach who ripped the last three batsmen from Holland. There has been no bowler in cricket's history to have taken two hat-tricks in world cups and so also there is no other bowlers to have taken four wickets in four balls in world cups (with my knowledge being restricted only to world cups at the moment).

However, as was the case with Kemar Roach's feat, the one with Lasith Malinga can hardly be applauded for once again, it was a non-test playing team that Malinga was playing against. Had the hat-trick been against some Pakistan or Australia, the feat could have been relished proudly. The match once again reminded Sri Lanka's world record total of 398 against Kenya at Kandy in the 1996 world cup that Sri Lanka won. Looking at the scorecard, if not for two Kenyan players who scored half centuries, not other player could manage even a ten. There was Steve Tikolo, who has been playing cricket since 1996.

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