Lasith Malinga retires from franchise cricket: Top 5 IPL performances by the all time great 'death bowler'

Separamadu Lasith Malinga was already an established death bowler before IPL kick started. Needless to say a lot of franchises were keen to buy him in the inaugural IPL auction.

Mumbai Indians successfully roped in Lasith Malinga for US$350,000 in 2008 auction but a severe knee injury kept him out of the entire first season. However, Mumbai Indians were aware of the value of someone like 'Slinga' Malinga. They retained the star player for the next season and he did not disappoint.

Apart from his ability to take wickets at regular intervals, the economy rate with which he bowled was simply outstanding. In his first IPL season, he took 18 wickets at an economy of 6.3 runs per over. He backed it up with several match-winning performances for MI. Throughout his IPL career, he only played for Mumbai Indians.

Here are Lasith Malinga's top 5 bowling performances in IPL:

5-13 against Delhi (2011)

Lasith Malinga was spitting fire in the 2011 IPL season. He took as many as 28 wickets in the season which remained his best ever season with the ball. His solitary 5-wicket haul in IPL came against Delhi in the 4th season. He knocked over dangerous David Warner and kept taking wickets at regular intervals. Due to his heroics with the ball, Delhi was bundled out for just 95.

4-16 against Hyderabad (2012)

Malinga continued his heroics in the next season as well. His best performance in the 5th season came against Hyderabad. Malinga was given the responsibility to dismantle the opposition's lower order and his toe crushers were too much to handle for the tail enders. Mumbai bowled Hyderabad out for just 100.

4-22 against Punjab (2010)

Lasith Malinga was effective during the fag end of his career but in his prime, he was just unplayable. In the 3rd edition of the IPL, his best performance came against Kings XI Punjab. His effective death bowling and economical first spell restricted Punjab to 162. When other bowlers were finding it hard to stem the flow of runs, Malinga was dismissing batsmen for fun. His spell of 4-22 proved to be the difference between the two teams.

4-23 against Kolkata (2014)

Lasith was undoubtedly the stand out performer for Mumbai in several seasons. There were games when he performed brilliantly but runs kept flowing from the other end and Mumbai eventually ended up losing. This match against Kolkata is a prime example of such an encounter. Kolkata led by Gautam Gambhir lost 5 wickets in the innings and 4 out of them belonged to Lasith Malinga. Mumbai ended up losing the game by 41 runs but this one remains as one of Malinga's most memorable spells.

4-23 against Hyderabad (2015)

Mumbai Indians in this game were restricted to just 158 by the impressive Hyderabad bowling attack. It required a special spell to counter the threat of David Warner and his men. Malinga rose to the occasion and returned with the figures of 4 for 23, leading his side to a memorable 10-run victory.

Lasith Malinga battled injuries for a long time. He made several comebacks in franchise cricket and proved his effectiveness with the ball on more than one occasion. His last ball for Mumbai Indians will remain as one of the best balls of his cricketing career. He dismissed Shardul Thakur of a slower ball on the last ball of the 2019 IPL final to lead his side to a historic title win.

He took 170 wickets in 122 games for Mumbai Indians and although we can say that his retirement from franchise cricket didn't come as a surprise, there is no doubt that Mumbai Indians will miss the ability and experience of the legend.

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