Lasith Malinga has carved a niche for himself in world cricket for some time now and he continues to grow in stature by the dint of his extraordinary showing with the ball.
The Sri Lankan bowler, as famous for his locks as his unique slingshot action, swiftly overcame the disappointment of his country's loss to India in the World Cup final a week ago and produced a dazzling performance for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Sunday.
Malinga, donning the Mumbai Indians' blue that strikingly resemble the Lankan colours, looked like continuing with his fine performance in the World Cup.
His figures of five for 13, the third best in IPL history, spoke volumes about his effectiveness.
Malinga's dominance was spell-binding. Be it his toe-crushing yorkers or sharp low full tosses which beat the batsmen with the pace or the well-concealed slower ones, the 27-year-old executed them with authority.
By ruthlessly castling the first four of his five victims, he not only sniffed life out of the Delhi batting line-up but also left the home team a demoralised lot.
“I always practise my yorkers as it is a wicket-taking ball,” said Malinga.
“I never mind what the wicket is like, I never mind who the batsman is. I think of what I have to do,” said the supremely confident pacer.
Accuracy has been the high point of Malinga's career. It is the sole reason behind Malinga's emergence as a potent weapon in the Twenty20 format over the years.
It also explains another part of his effort which often goes unnoticed — keeping the batsmen quiet (like bowling a maiden to Sehwag on Sunday).
“Viru is a good batsman. But I think I can do that and I try my best. I always try to bowl a good line and length,” he said.
Malinga's formula to handle reputed batsmen is simple. “They have some ability which they can do. I try to do my best,” he said.