The unorthodox right-arm pacer played the last match of his ODI career against Bangladesh on Friday.
The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo is now forever etched in the history books. It now holds the privilege of bidding farewell to a Sri Lankan legend and one of the most feared bowlers in the world, Lasith Malinga.
The final chapter has been written for the right arm pacer in some style. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh saw the 35-year-old deliver one of his iconic Yorkers to dismiss Tamim Iqbal and then, piling on the misery with his pinpoint accuracy.
His spell of three for 38 has proved that if he still wishes to continue, he can wreak havoc in any condition. In the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup in England, he finished as the highest wicket-taker for his team with 13 scalps from seven innings.
Known for his destruction at the death overs, Malinga’s Yorkers have long been the plight of esteemed batsmen across the cricketing world. He is the only bowler to have taken four wickets in four balls in ODIs, achieving this historic feat in a World Cup encounter against South Africa back in 2007.
The record bookkeeper will have a tough time keeping track of all the milestones that Malinga has crossed during his glittering career. His feat in the final match of his career has made him the ninth-highest wicket-taker in ODIs and the bowler to have bowled most Yorkers (1018) in ODI since 2006.
Coming from a nation that has produced bowling legends like Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas, Malinga too, feels that the state of cricketing affairs in the country can only be improved by investing in young and upcoming players.
“I feel it's the right time for me to retire from ODIs. I have been playing for the last 15 years for Sri Lanka and this is the right time to move on. My time is over and I have to go. Winning is very important for me; We are a young team," Malinga said in the post-match presentation.
Malinga is a prime example of someone who discovered his innate abilities to master his art and entertained an entire generation of cricket fanatics and inspiring the future ones.
Here’s how Twitter bid goodbye to their most cherished and beloved bowler.
The last Malinga Slinga in ODIs comes with a win for Sri Lanka. 338 wickets in ODIs and his stats for the match were 3/38. Magical figures from the man with magical talent. The treat of watching you charging every batsman will be missed in ODIs Lasith Malinga. #ThankYouMalinga
— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) July 26, 2019
If I had to pick one match winner among many others for @mipaltan in the last decade, this man will be on the top for sure. As a captain he give me breather during tense situation and he never failed to deliver, such was his presence within the team. Best wishes LM for the future pic.twitter.com/gJJJKy8gL3
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) July 26, 2019
It was again a perfect script of cricket when Thisara Perera safely taken a catch to end the ODI carrier of the #YokerKing. Those emotions on everyone's face until the catch was taken were priceless!
Thank you Lasith Malinga #99 😍🔥💐#ThankYouMalinga pic.twitter.com/UUlrn3w4i4
— Chethaka Uduwarage 🇱🇰 (@chethaka) July 26, 2019
Another fast bowler calls it a day. Nothing but admiration for the mighty Lasith Malinga who is one of the greats of the white ball game. Big hearted, smiling and tough underneath the friendly air. A torch-bearer for the unorthodox.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 26, 2019
"I tried my best that's why I succeeded"
A legend of the game, #LasithMalinga has written a special story for himself in cricketing history. #ThankYouMalinga 🙏
One last time! ❤️🇱🇰
Via @shen_np#LKA #SriLanka #SLvBAN #LionsRoar pic.twitter.com/8XcskmqbbN
— Sri Lanka Tweet 🇱🇰 (@SriLankaTweet) July 26, 2019
A legend in the true sense of the game. See you soon on the T20I stage, 'Maali'.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/Ishara S. Kodikara