Sri Lanka veteran pace bowler – Lasith Malinga picked up the wicket of Colin de Grandhomme with his iconic ‘Yorker’ to create a new landmark in cricket’s most exciting and shorter format on Sunday. During the 1st T20I of the three-match series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, Malinga became the highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 internationals with his 99th scalp, surpassing Pakistan great Shahid Afridi.
Malinga, who retired from Test cricket in 2011 and played his farewell ODIs in July, bowled Colin Munro in the first over of the New Zealand chase to equal Afridi’s record of 98 wickets. The 36-year-old then cleaned up Colin de Grandhomme, for 44, to achieve the feat in the 74th T20 match of his illustrious career.
Afridi, a leg-spinner who also captained Pakistan, played 99 T20 matches. Malinga is a quick known for bowling yorkers with his slinging action, made his T20 debut against England in 2006.
However, Malinga’s brilliant spell of 2/23 went in vain as New Zealand defeated the Islander by five wickets to clinch a thriller at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele. Chasing a stiff target of 175 to win, Ross Taylor (48) and De Grandhomme (44) brilliantly anchored the chase for the Kiwis and helped them to take the 1-0 lead in the series.
Earlier, opener Kusal Mendis hit a quickfire 79 to help Sri Lanka post 174 for four in the allotted 20 overs. Mendis took charge after the hosts elected to bat first, building crucial partnerships including a 63-run third-wicket stand with Niroshan Dickwella, who made 33.
Mendis held firm to complete his fifth T20 fifty with a boundary off Colin de Grandhomme and went on to register his career-best score in the shortest format. His previous-best was 70.