The sling-action bowler comes back from injury break for a career-best six for 38 as Sri Lanka win by nine wickets.
Malinga's second World Cup hat-trick give Sri Lanka big win over Kenya
In a country so totally in thrall to cricket, Lasith Malinga, the hirsute fast-bowler, just about trumps the free-spirited batsman Tillekeratne Dilshan as the leading pop icon.
Malinga stretched his lead over his teammate last night, with his hat-trick eclipsing a typically electric, but all too brief, opening salvo from Dilshan as Sri Lanka showed no mercy to hapless Kenya in the World Cup.
Before yesterday, Malinga had yet to bowl a competitive delivery in this tournament. He strained his back picking up a cricket ball two weeks earlier and was not risked in Sri Lanka’s opening two matches, on the recommendation of the physiotherapist.
Yet he has still been omnipresent. Wherever you move in Colombo, there he is, either as a wooden silhouette cut-out on roundabouts, smiling down from billboards, or as the feature of television commercials. In one frequently-aired advertisement on Sri Lankan television, police direct the traffic by aping Malinga’s famously quirky slingshot bowling action.
It was not obvious who had the tougher task yesterday – Kenya’s batsmen or those traffic police. There is no decipherable rush hour in Colombo. The streets are always clogged, especially on major match days.
Yet whatever they were faced with, they were better equipped than the Kenyans. Malinga compounded an already miserable tournament for the African side with six-wickets. In so doing, he took his second hat-trick in World Cups, and the third in all by Sri Lankans.
Kumar Sangakkara, his captain, did him no special favours for the hat-trick ball. No reinforcements were provided in catching areas, but Sangakkara clearly knows his strike bowler well.
Why bother changing the field, when Malinga does everything himself? He did not require any outside assistance for any of his six wickets: three were lbw, the other three were bowled.
“I was disappointed that I had to sit in the dressing room [for Sri Lanka’s first two matches] and watch, so I was ready to perform,” Malinga said.
“I always want to do something for my team whenever my captain hands me the ball.”
Jimmy Kamande, Kenya’s captain, was philosophical about his side’s capitulation to Malinga. “It is not only difficult for Kenyan guys to bat against him,” Kamande said. “I have seen him to that to teams all over the world.”
After Malinga hastened the end of the Kenya innings, Dilshan set about wowing another fervent crowd at the R Premadasa Stadium with the bat.
The opener is a barely less recognisable personality here than Malinga. One television commercial borrows a theme from the film The Karate Kid, with Dilshan cast in the role of Daniel-San.
In this case, instead of Mr Myagi teaching his apprentice some moves waxing-on and waxing-off the car, Dilshan learns some valuable tips inside a sari shop.
In it he is taught how the dress is thrown over the shoulder, and in so doing imitates his trademark shot, the “Dilscoop”.
He did not need to indulge in such frippery last night, however, as he and Upul Tharanga, his opening partner, rushed the home side to victory.
HAT-TRICKS AT THE WORLD CUP
1987: Chetan Sharma (India) v New Zealand (Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith, Ewen Chatfield) 1999: Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan) v Zimbabwe (Henry Olonga, Adam Huckle, Pommie Mbangwa)
2003: Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka) v Bangladesh (Hannan Sarkar, Mohammad Ashraful, Ehsanul Haque) 2003: Brett Lee (Australia) v Kenya (Kennedy Otieno, Brijal Patel, David Obuya)
2007: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) v South Africa (Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis, Makhaya Ntini)*
2011: Kemar Roach (West Indies) v Netherlands (Pieter Seelaar, Bernard Loots, Berend Westdijk)
2011: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) v Kenya (Tanmay Mishra, Peter Ongondo, Shem Ngoche)
(* Malinga got four wickets in four balls)
M Ouma lbw b Kulasekara 1
S Waters lbw b Malinga 3
C Obuya b Malinga 52
D Obuya c Samaraweera b Muralitharan 51
S Tikolo c Dilshan b Mathews 7
T Mishra lbw b Malinga 0
J Kamande run out 1
N Odhiambo not out 8
P Ongondo b Malinga 0
S Ngoche b Malinga 0
E Otieno b Malinga 0
Extras: (b1, lb6, nb3, w9) 19
Total: (all out; 43.4 overs) 142
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Ouma), 2-8 (Waters), 3-102 (C Obuya), 4-120 (Tikolo), 5-127 (D Obuya), 6-128 (Kamande), 7-137 (Mishra), 8-137 (Ongondo), 9-137 (Ngoche), 10-142 (Otieno)
Bowling: Malinga 7.4-0-38-6 (nb3, w7), Kulasekara 9-1-18-1, Mathews 7-0-20-1 (w1), Mendis 9-2-23-0, Muralitharan 8-0-24-1, Silva 3-0-12-0 (w1)
U Tharanga not out 67
T Dilshan c Ouma b Otieno 44
K Sangakkara not out 27
Extras: (nb1, w7) 8
Total: (for one wkt; 18.4 overs) 146
Fall of wickets: 1-72 (Dilshan)
Bowling: Ongondo 3-0-28-0 (w2), Odhiambo 5-0-26-0, Ngoche 4-0-39-0, Kamande 1-0-14-0 (w2), Otieno 4-0-26-1 (nb1 w2), C Obuya 1.4-0-13-0 (w1)
Result: Sri Lanka won by nine wickets