Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne hailed pacer Lasith Malinga as a “legend” after the latter’s performance in their recent shock win over tournament favourites England at the 2019 ICC World Cup. “I think he’s a legend. He knows what he has to do,” said Karunaratne in the post-match press conference. Defending a target of 233, Sri Lanka managed to dismiss the mighty England batting lineup on 212 and thus secured their second win of the tournament. Malinga ended the match with figures of 4/43 in 10 overs and his wickets included those of openers Jonny Bairstow and James Vince, Joe Root and danger man Jos Buttler.

Malinga had recently gone back to Sri Lanka briefly after the death of his mother-in-law. “Whatever he does, we know he is giving his best. So that is why I said to him ‘if you want to go home and come back that is fine’. He came back and set a good example for the rest of the guys,” said Karunaratne.

Karunaratne also said that the victory was a result of team work. “Angelo (Mathews) batted really well and took responsibility. If we had the score, the bowlers knew what to do on this wicket. When Malinga got a couple of wickets we had to keep him for the last overs, and then I gave (Akila) Dhananjaya the ball and he did a good job. Those are the things we want as a team and I am expecting those things as a captain. I think Root’s wicket was the turning point. I was not confident (with the review) but still went for it,” he said in the post-match presentation.