SL v NZ, World Twenty20, Super Eights, Group 1, Pallekele September 27, 2012

Jayawardene hails his death-over expert

34

Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene extolled Lasith Malinga as the finest death bowler in world cricket after he bowled an imperturbable Super Over that finally killed off a persistent New Zealand challenge in their Super Eights tie in Pallakele.

Sri Lanka, emotionally if not in actuality, felt as though they had to win the match twice. New Zealand had looked out of the contest, but they dragged it into the Super Over with the help off a disputable run-out off the last ball of the regular match, when Ross Taylor was held to have deflected the ball off what replays suggested was his hand but the fielder himself thought must have been his knee.

When Sri Lanka scrambled 13 from their Super Over, failing to find the boundary but helped by three wides from Tim Southee, it fell to Malinga to protect their advantage. It was a close-run thing - had Tillakaratne Dilshan not held a skier at long-off, New Zealand would have needed two to win off the final ball, but Malinga produced the last-ball yorker to leave his captain full of praise.

Could he think of any death bowler who matched Malinga? "I don't think so," Jayawardene said. "He has got the experience, he has done it in various situations. He said what he was going to do from the beginning and how he wanted the field. It is easy for a captain when you have a bowler with that sort of confidence.

"Another day he might go for runs but you always back your ace bowler. It is good to have somebody who has control mentally over that situation. After that you try to execute your skills. It is important that you are tough in that situation and Mali is one of those guys."

Malinga was in his element, hitting the blockhole with regularity, despite a low-slung action that the coaches will tell you makes it doubly difficult to maintain such control.

Even as Malinga suppressed McCullum with the final yorker, with eight needed, Jayawardene was intent on tidying up the victory, extolling his celebrating fielders to get the ball back and break the stumps in case New Zealand had designs on trying to run the lot.

Sri Lanka had celebrated victory after Taylor initially conceded that he had failed to run out Lahiru Thirimanne at the non-striker's end, fumbling James Franklin's throw from point. He shook hands with the umpires, shook his head at the imagined defeat and headed for the dug out, a captain convinced the game was lost.

"We were looking at Ross' reaction and he wasn't that enthusiastic about the run-out so we thought we had scraped through," Jayawardene said. "I still haven't seen the footage. It was just chaos on the field. We thought we had won the game and then to go back into a Super Over was not easy but we kept our composure and made sure we played some smart cricket."

Taylor, aware that New Zealand probably need victories in their last two Super Eights matches against England on Saturday and West Indies on Monday, said: "James Franklin threw the ball very hard and I knew I didn't catch it. It was fairly close to hitting the stumps and I looked down and the bails were off, and the boys were going 'Oh, yeah,' and I thought that I must have flicked it off with my finger.

"I went and shook hands but when I got upstairs the coach was saying, 'It's out, it's out.' It must have come off my knee and broken the stumps or something. It wasn't deliberate. My hands weren't anywhere near it."

Sri Lanka were comfortably placed for victory at 103 for 1 midway through their innings, only 72 short of victory. Jayawardene and Dilshan produced some of the most scintillating batting of the tournament, but Jaywardene top-edged Jacob Oram to fine leg and Dilshan slowed as he tried to shepherd Sri Lanka's untested middle order to their target. "I felt that with one good over we could reach the target," Dilshan said. But Southee bowled two excellent overs of yorkers and the big over never came.

Taylor drew pride where he could. "From the situation we were in I thought we fought back very hard and I'm proud of the way we fought to the bitter end," he said. "I felt if we could get the big guns out we could pressure on the youngsters and we did that.

"We practiced a Super Over in a warm-up against Australia even though we had been convincingly beaten. You can simulate it as much as possible, but when you get into it, with the pressures and the crowd, you can't practice for that."

Lost in all the commotion was an international debut for Sri Lanka's teenage mystery spinner, Akila Dananjaya, who took two New Zealand wickets and a fearful blow in the face when he failed to hold a searing return catch. England's tremors against spin suggest that they will face him on Monday.

"It is a gut feeling to play him when you see a wicket or an opposition," Jayawardene said. "I wanted to give him a game, so now his jitters hopefully are over. He bowled really well for a young lad. Depending on the opposition we can use him again.

"When he got hit I thought, 'He has gone,' but when I got close to him he just said to me, 'Shit I dropped that catch.' He was bleeding from his noise but he was not too bad. He has got a bruised cheek but other than that he is alright."

Dananjaya has the sort of complicated attitude to his name that he still appears on some scorecards as MKPAD Perera. After five overs of Sri Lanka's innings, in which they scored 62, New Zealand's battered bowlers must have wished they could also be so anonymous.

New Zealand's bowlers were travelling many a mile and it would have been less painful to travel incognito. By the end of the night they had produced a remarkable recovery - but the game still belonged to Sri Lanka.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 29, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    @ James Anderson.....I respect your opinion very much.....and I really appreciate his humanitarian work......I truly respect Srilankan people and their culture.....they introduced us......the world with new brand of cricket in 1996.......he is a great team man and a role model for millions...... @ Asiri Senaratne.....mate please no disrespect intended....and I dont mean to hurt you.....but I would have not dare spoken about his record outside of subcontinent had I not read an article on crickinfo talking about his very poor record outside of subcontinent.....he is a great human being....a role model.....but its a personal preference....I loved watching Aravinda....I still watch his videos on youtube....and I loved Arjuna's captaincy...besides I prefer watching front foot players.......so I do not like to watch players who play on back foot like Dravid, Kallis, Mahela etc...front foot.....Aravinda, Mark Waugh, Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist etc...peace and sorry if you didnt like anything

  • chamil111 on September 29, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    as most indian fans, best batsman- kholi, best bolwer- zaheer khan, best spiner- harbajan, best keeper- dhoni, best captain- dhoni, best allrounder- yuaraj, best death over bowler- praveen kumar, best odi player- kholi, best test player- sachin, best t20 player- gambir,

    what a team. I don't know why icc is not rating those playes like indian fans ratings. Lolz but surely india can't reach to semis in world t20.

  • Sinhaya on September 29, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @Narbavi, in 2006 we beat England 5-0 in the ODIs, forgot about it???

  • Noball_Specialist on September 28, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    What about Mahela's innings though? Fantastic. His guts when he volunteered himself to play the superover as well.. He's such a great player for SL. One of the easiest batsmen to watch on the cricket field.

  • on September 28, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    I would love it, if India can make it into the Semis, but I don't think this time India can make it, then we can see the kohli and Malinga fight :)

  • onebump on September 28, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    @DesiBoyz810: as a SL fan, have to say that is funny! Good one. Yes, we need to control the Indian batting line up one way or the other. Malinga has had enough time to develop that aspect as the Indians play him more freely now. Maybe some performances against the other sides before we play India in the semifinal or final will give him the confidence.

  • rahulcricket007 on September 28, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    I THINK THE CATCH OFF GUPTILL WAS MORE IMPORTANT . IF DILSHAN WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN IT THEN IT WAS A CERATIN BOUNDARY .

  • Balumekka on September 28, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    I think the best way to end the useless arguments with regard to the "Best death over bowler" is by stating "Zaheer Khan is the best death bowler in the world, ever!!!!" But pity that few are against me (like Aakash Chopra) http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/584122.html

  • maddy20 on September 28, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    @Nisala I hope you are not referring to the drubbing from Kohli in Aus where Malinga was bestowed with the most expensive economy rate in limited overs cricket and India chase 330 in 34 overs!

  • colombo_SL on September 28, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    @DesiBoyz810; What nonsense, Indians have to tell every where Kholi, kholi, kholi, kholi. Heavily dependent on him though this is a team game.

  • on September 29, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    @ James Anderson.....I respect your opinion very much.....and I really appreciate his humanitarian work......I truly respect Srilankan people and their culture.....they introduced us......the world with new brand of cricket in 1996.......he is a great team man and a role model for millions...... @ Asiri Senaratne.....mate please no disrespect intended....and I dont mean to hurt you.....but I would have not dare spoken about his record outside of subcontinent had I not read an article on crickinfo talking about his very poor record outside of subcontinent.....he is a great human being....a role model.....but its a personal preference....I loved watching Aravinda....I still watch his videos on youtube....and I loved Arjuna's captaincy...besides I prefer watching front foot players.......so I do not like to watch players who play on back foot like Dravid, Kallis, Mahela etc...front foot.....Aravinda, Mark Waugh, Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist etc...peace and sorry if you didnt like anything

  • chamil111 on September 29, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    as most indian fans, best batsman- kholi, best bolwer- zaheer khan, best spiner- harbajan, best keeper- dhoni, best captain- dhoni, best allrounder- yuaraj, best death over bowler- praveen kumar, best odi player- kholi, best test player- sachin, best t20 player- gambir,

    what a team. I don't know why icc is not rating those playes like indian fans ratings. Lolz but surely india can't reach to semis in world t20.

  • Sinhaya on September 29, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @Narbavi, in 2006 we beat England 5-0 in the ODIs, forgot about it???

  • Noball_Specialist on September 28, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    What about Mahela's innings though? Fantastic. His guts when he volunteered himself to play the superover as well.. He's such a great player for SL. One of the easiest batsmen to watch on the cricket field.

  • on September 28, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    I would love it, if India can make it into the Semis, but I don't think this time India can make it, then we can see the kohli and Malinga fight :)

  • onebump on September 28, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    @DesiBoyz810: as a SL fan, have to say that is funny! Good one. Yes, we need to control the Indian batting line up one way or the other. Malinga has had enough time to develop that aspect as the Indians play him more freely now. Maybe some performances against the other sides before we play India in the semifinal or final will give him the confidence.

  • rahulcricket007 on September 28, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    I THINK THE CATCH OFF GUPTILL WAS MORE IMPORTANT . IF DILSHAN WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN IT THEN IT WAS A CERATIN BOUNDARY .

  • Balumekka on September 28, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    I think the best way to end the useless arguments with regard to the "Best death over bowler" is by stating "Zaheer Khan is the best death bowler in the world, ever!!!!" But pity that few are against me (like Aakash Chopra) http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/584122.html

  • maddy20 on September 28, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    @Nisala I hope you are not referring to the drubbing from Kohli in Aus where Malinga was bestowed with the most expensive economy rate in limited overs cricket and India chase 330 in 34 overs!

  • colombo_SL on September 28, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    @DesiBoyz810; What nonsense, Indians have to tell every where Kholi, kholi, kholi, kholi. Heavily dependent on him though this is a team game.

  • colombo_SL on September 28, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Most people were trying to hit the last nail to malinga's coffin. They thought that he is over. What excellent performance Mali, show again your capabilities & made your country proud.

  • on September 28, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Sanath Jayesuriya Smashed all the Indian bowlers in his time but Srilanka fans have never been kept posting comments such ways.

  • Narbavi on September 28, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @Nisala Fernando: Wrong!! Team india has won series outside the subcontinent too, we have won in england 5yrs back recently, but u have never won there, we have won test matches in australia but u have never won there!!

  • on September 28, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    @Mohammad Ahmad - Mate, it's an interview - he was asked a question and he responded with answer: in doing so he sought to back his match winner in Malinga thereby reinforcing his confidence. If you don't like Mahela don't read his interviews. RE: His record outside the subcontinet please remember how many tests Sri Lanka get to play outside of the subcontinent - random 2 test series often at the start of the season. Mahela's a world class batsman and leader.

  • Surajdon9 on September 28, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    once again Malinga show his class................really tremendous Bowling.............

  • Udendra on September 28, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    for the Indian fans, Malinga becomes the world's best death bowler only when he plays for IPL . LOL.

  • on September 28, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Against india malinga's bowling was horrible!! He never found the blockhole and missed by foot or two, or short pitched! Easy pickings! Southee too was expensive earlier but bowled superbly at the death. Anyway Malinga always bowl superbly at death..

  • WishW on September 28, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    to all you indian critics..if you want kholi to face malinga in a super over..please make sure India atleast makes the semi finals...you have bigger worries

  • on September 28, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    i saw lot of comments here about kholi..he's a good batter...we know..excellent player in cricket..every batsman have a peak time..and they will deliver in peak..we saw it from sanga, dhoni, gilchrist, hayden,,many other's,,, but u can't tell he can smashed every ball of malinga..and about malinga.he's the only bowler get 3 hatricks in world cricket.... @DesiBoyz810: Malinga not at his best these days..i know will sri Lanka meet india next time..kholi have no chance...malinga get his length right in this super super over...if he get his variations right..he can out any batsman in world cricket...

  • Ramansilva on September 28, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    When Malinga play in the IPL carnival, he is good. When he play for SL (I am not sure if he really does that) he is nothing. Grow-up you pessimistic fans.

  • dhanusha_so on September 28, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    Ohh to all INDIAN FANS: I'm sure you guys dont wanna us to talk about the days where Sanath scored his 189 and then the 952/6 biggest total in test innings..etc and how our batsmen destroy ur bowling attack without any effort.. im sure kohli is batting very good vs malinga but i havent seen kohli taking your;ll for a final match in a tourament.. kohli or tendulakar are not match winners.. they r just playing for there indiviual scores.. and both of them are very unlucky for ur team to suceed.. Dhoni is the only player that plays in your team for the team success..

  • guptakapil13 on September 28, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    Disputed Run Out on last ball in SL innings? I think it was pretty conclusive that ball did hit the stump after rebounding from fielders hands. Is writer just trying to create sensation???

  • on September 28, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    @mohammad Ahamad, Yeah Yeah,Dont compare yesteryear players with the current crop mate. Can you compare Ian Botham and Kevin P? Mahela is one of the best captains in world cricket. He does enormous work for charity along with Sanga etc. He is a good captin and a true gentleman. We dont care about his averages. He is one of the best players currently available in SL. We have a small population when compared to many countries and only a handful of cities in SL that play cricket.

  • AMAZINGFAN on September 28, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    LOL A BOWLER WHO CUDN'T DO ANYTHING AGAINST INDIA AND SUDDENLY AFTER ONE OVER HE IS THE BEST BOWLER IN DEATH....JUST LOOK AT MALINGA'S FIGURES AGAINST INDIA AND U WILL SEE WHY IS OVER-RATED....LEAVE ALONE HOBART EVEN IN THE WARM-UP GAME HE WENT FOR 50 RUNS IN HIS 4 OVERS....

  • on September 27, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    Ok people dont hate me for this....we live in a democratic world....atleast most of it is.....ok some of it is.....lolz......I do not like this Sri Lankan side very much....especially Mahela.....dont eat me.....I loved watching Sri Lanka.....but now I find them over rated......I loved watching Aravinda......a solid front foot player who even in his lime light knocked the teeth out of Brett Lee.....something Mahela can not even dream of......basically with Jayasuria, Aravinda, Murli and Vaas they were world beaters.....and they did not need to do the talking...now with Mahela its all about talking n talking....and if I hurt anyone....I am sorry.....just my thoughts...and for those who now hate me......lolz......plz check Mahela's avg outside Sub continent and Sri Lanka.....he used to avg around 31 (Test)....he can smack the kids....but...Men...its a diff story altogether......peace.....cheers

  • Rushikey on September 27, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    So as per your comments who is the best death bowler right now? Do you want to give answer of this question only after Kohli faces all the death bowler in the world? Mahela's comments is nothing to do about any depth batsman, its about depth bowler!

  • Rushikey on September 27, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    As Indian fan, I am embarrassed by rude comments from some Indian fans like DesiBoyz810 and nands.venkat. Here Mahela said Malinga is a best death bowler in the world. It doesn't mean he will deliver every single time. No need to remind Kohli's great knock where he destroyed Malingas bowling. Do you guys give guarantee that, Kohli will do the same every single time? Or can you suggest, any other current bowler who bowled yorker at death so consistently? So stop acting over arrogant! Kohli is a classic player and so as Malinga!

  • on September 27, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    This is the same malinga who cud do nothing against India as SL were whitewashed not so recently...don't give false acolades. After all, you can't beat NZ and assume you got the stuff to do the same to everyone else. Agaisnt SA, Pak, Ind, WI, AUS, malinga could have been smashed. Lets see wat he can do agaisnt some real opposition.

  • nands.venkat on September 27, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    Jayawardene!! I am not sure if Malinga is worlds best death over bowler. May be we should put Kohli in the super over to face Malinga.

  • K.H.Dushmantha on September 27, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    Looks that Malinga may not handle pressure properly in these games. When he has not done with ball, he even lost control alowing misfield or inefective fielding, etc . Hope NZ game super over may get moral boosting destroy power. Wish him good luck and I still awaiitng his day soon in this WC.

  • cyberstudent on September 27, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    why on the earth teams take the short fineleg, when the bowler is bowling Yorker Line? Why? its stupid decision.. fineleg should be on boundary in death overs.

  • on September 27, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    @DesiBoyz810: Funny. Team India does the same outside the sub continent and roar like lions in the subcontinent. Funny game cricket is

  • kdchess86 on September 27, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    Good game of Cricket.....All the best SL...

  • Munafis810 on September 27, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Malinga just shivers and meoows moment he see Kohli. Otherwise he is a roaring lion surely ;)

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  • Munafis810 on September 27, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Malinga just shivers and meoows moment he see Kohli. Otherwise he is a roaring lion surely ;)

  • kdchess86 on September 27, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    Good game of Cricket.....All the best SL...

  • on September 27, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    @DesiBoyz810: Funny. Team India does the same outside the sub continent and roar like lions in the subcontinent. Funny game cricket is

  • cyberstudent on September 27, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    why on the earth teams take the short fineleg, when the bowler is bowling Yorker Line? Why? its stupid decision.. fineleg should be on boundary in death overs.

  • K.H.Dushmantha on September 27, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    Looks that Malinga may not handle pressure properly in these games. When he has not done with ball, he even lost control alowing misfield or inefective fielding, etc . Hope NZ game super over may get moral boosting destroy power. Wish him good luck and I still awaiitng his day soon in this WC.

  • nands.venkat on September 27, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    Jayawardene!! I am not sure if Malinga is worlds best death over bowler. May be we should put Kohli in the super over to face Malinga.

  • on September 27, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    This is the same malinga who cud do nothing against India as SL were whitewashed not so recently...don't give false acolades. After all, you can't beat NZ and assume you got the stuff to do the same to everyone else. Agaisnt SA, Pak, Ind, WI, AUS, malinga could have been smashed. Lets see wat he can do agaisnt some real opposition.

  • Rushikey on September 27, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    As Indian fan, I am embarrassed by rude comments from some Indian fans like DesiBoyz810 and nands.venkat. Here Mahela said Malinga is a best death bowler in the world. It doesn't mean he will deliver every single time. No need to remind Kohli's great knock where he destroyed Malingas bowling. Do you guys give guarantee that, Kohli will do the same every single time? Or can you suggest, any other current bowler who bowled yorker at death so consistently? So stop acting over arrogant! Kohli is a classic player and so as Malinga!

  • Rushikey on September 27, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    So as per your comments who is the best death bowler right now? Do you want to give answer of this question only after Kohli faces all the death bowler in the world? Mahela's comments is nothing to do about any depth batsman, its about depth bowler!

  • on September 27, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    Ok people dont hate me for this....we live in a democratic world....atleast most of it is.....ok some of it is.....lolz......I do not like this Sri Lankan side very much....especially Mahela.....dont eat me.....I loved watching Sri Lanka.....but now I find them over rated......I loved watching Aravinda......a solid front foot player who even in his lime light knocked the teeth out of Brett Lee.....something Mahela can not even dream of......basically with Jayasuria, Aravinda, Murli and Vaas they were world beaters.....and they did not need to do the talking...now with Mahela its all about talking n talking....and if I hurt anyone....I am sorry.....just my thoughts...and for those who now hate me......lolz......plz check Mahela's avg outside Sub continent and Sri Lanka.....he used to avg around 31 (Test)....he can smack the kids....but...Men...its a diff story altogether......peace.....cheers