Can Malinga derail demolition man Chris Gayle?

Lasith Malinga, who has always taken more than 15 wickets in every editions of the IPL, it is astonishing to see him not even in the Top 15 list of wicket-takers so far in the sixth edition. The fiery Sri Lankan pacer has managed to grab only five wickets in as many games for MI this season. He missed MI’s first two away games due to sore back during the Bangladesh series.

Lasith Malinga fields during a Mumbai Indians net session yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble.

Although Malinga has managed to contain batsmen with an economy rate of 6.15, the stylish pacer has not quite set the stage on fire so far with early breakthroughs for Mumbai.

This season he has been a bit off colour if compared to his previous performances. After missing out the opening edition of the IPL due to an injury, Malinga was at his best in the 2009 season, claiming 18 wickets in 13 matches. In the 2010 edition, he claimed 15 wickets in 13 games, playing a crucial role to take Mumbai Indians into the final.

The fourth edition in 2011 was a memorable one as Malinga took the Purple Cap for being the leading wicket-taker — 28 in 16 matches at an economy rate of just less than six runs per over. In the process, he also registered his best IPL figures — 5-13.

Last season too he impressed with 22 wickets in 14 games.¬†However, he is yet to do anything of note in the sixth edition. With Malinga being MI’s biggest hope to stop Gayle from exploding, it would be a perfect stage for him to ensure who Mumbaikars should cheer today.

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