Sri Lanka have always been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to ICC events with three appearances in the World Cup finals (1996, 2007, 2011) of which they managed one Championship title, a joint champ effort along with India in the year 2002 Champions Trophy and three other final appearances (2009, 2012, 2014) for one victory(2014) in the World T20.
Ahead of the 2017 Champions Trophy to be held in England, we take a look back at Sri Lanka’s top bowling efforts at ICC events.
1: Ajantha Mendis 6/08(4) vs Zimbabwe (World T20-2012)
This was not only the best bowling performance in the history of World T20’s, but also the best ever bowling performance in all T20 Internationals as Mendis bettered his own 6/16 against the Aussies in 2011. After Sri Lanka posted an imposing total, he tore through Zimbabwe. Mendis took three wickets in his first spell to kill off any thoughts of a chase and returned to take three more to end Zimbabwe’s hopes. Mendis served up deliveries that went on with the arm, off breaks that turned in, the carrom ball that left the right handers and the googly from the back of the hand to leave the Zimbabweans bamboozled throughout the night in Hambantota.
2: Farveez Maharoof 6/14(9) vs West Indies (ICC Champions Trophy-2006)
This was a performance not many people expected, especially after Farveez Maharoof was taken to the cleaners by Zimbabwe in the previous game. He conceded 37 runs off his four overs in that game but showed that he was a quick learner when he bounced back to capture 6/14, the best ever bowling performance in a Champions Trophy game to-date. He was almost unplayable, pitching it perfectly on a good length, managing to seam the ball both ways, and was especially effective with his leg-cutters, getting the ball to grip and bounce from the abrasive surface. The slow nature of the pitch also meant none of the batsmen could drive him on the up, and with tight ring fields set, Maharoof choked the runs and forced the batsmen into indiscretion as the West Indians were bundled out for just 80 runs. This was a once in life time performance for a man who promised a lot at domestic level with consistent performances with both bat and ball, but unfortunately for Sri Lanka, this is as good as it got for Maharoof in the international arena.
3: Chaminda Vaas 6/25(9.1) vs Bangladesh (ICC Cricket World Cup-2003)
Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushanta Joseph Chaminda Vaas. Wonder if pronouncing his name would have been an easier task for the Bangladeshis than facing his late inswingers on the 14th of Februrary 2003. It was a game which would always be remembered by many Sri Lankan fans and even cricket fans around the world for a unique feat achieved by Sri Lanka’s finest ever quick bowler, Vaasy. He became the first ever cricketer to take three wickets off the first three deliveries of a one-day international while at the time, his hat-trick was the third in World Cup history, after Chetan Sharma’s effort against the Kiwis in ’87 and Saqlain Mushtaq against Zimbabwe in 1999. Just when you thought he was about done, he trapped Sanwar Hossain in front off the fifth ball of the first over to end up with four scalps in the opening over of the match after Sri Lanka won the toss and put their opponents in. He returned to clean up the tail as he finished with figures of 9.1-2-25-6, while helping to restrict the Bangladeshi’s to just 124 before Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu knocked off the runs for no loss.
4: Lasith Malinga 6/38(7.4) vs Kenya (ICC Cricket World Cup-2011)
This effort from Lasith Malinga included a hat-trick which crowned him as the only bowler to pick up two hat-tricks in the history of World Cups. His previous one had come against South Africa in the 2007 edition when he went on to make it four wickets in as many balls. It was a day night game at the R Premadasa Stadium and the Kenyans were set for a competitive score at 102/2 after winning the toss and electing to bat first. It was then that Malinga decided to work his magic as he ran through the Kenyan middle and lower order to clean them up for 142 with more than six overs to spare in their innings. It was an exhibition of yorkers from the man with the slinging action and the eye catching hair style, as he went on to capture six wickets with all dismissals being either LBW or bowled.
5: Rangana Herath 5/03(3.3) vs New Zealand (World T20-2014)
It was do or die for both Sri Lanka and New Zealand with a semifinal berth up for the grabs. The Blackcaps went into the innings break all smiles, bowling out the Sri Lankans for just 119 after winning the toss and sending them in. They were not aware of what was about to unfold. Rangana Herath put up a master class of classical left arm orthodox bowling in a performance which was probably the turning point in Sri Lanka going on to win the 2014 edition. Brendon McCullum was kept scoreless for four balls before Herath tossed one up slow and wide, reading McCullum’s advance to have him stumped, before he spun Ross Taylor in his web next over to trap him in front. It was all downhill for the Blackcaps from then on as they were shot out for just 60 runs with only Kane Williamson reaching double figures, making 42. This is also the lowest ever total successfully defended by a team in the World T20.
6: Lasith Malinga 5/31(4) vs England (World T20-2012)
Lasith Malinga had been relatively quiet in the tournament, taking three wickets in five matches, until this day,1st October 2012 when he doubled his tally in the blink of an eye when he was brought on for the third over while England were in pursuit of a target of 170. He ripped out the English top order with three wickets off four balls. Luke Wright unleashed a fierce square cut but sent it straight to backward point, Jonny Bairstow was undone by a slower ball and Alex Hales was pinned by a typical Malinga inswinging Yorker. Malinga added two more to his tally as the defending champions were eventually restricted to 150/9 as they bowed out of the tournament due to the brilliance of Malinga who ended up with a five wicket haul.