During the first T20I of the three-match T20I series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at Pallekele, veteran Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga has climbed up to the leading wicket-taker position in T20I history.
On Sunday (1st September), during that T20I game, Lasith Malinga led the Sri Lankan team. Before that game, Malinga already managed 97 T20I wickets and he was two wickets away from this record.
Lasith Malinga broke Shahid Afridi’s record
During the second innings of that game, Malinga bagged two wickets and became the new record holder of the most T20I wickets. After playing 74 T20Is, Malinga has taken 99 wickets. On Sunday, he surpassed the previous record-holder Shahid Afridi. Former Pakistan leg-spinner Shahid Afridi took 98 wickets in 99 T20Is.
Malinga equalled Afridi’s 98 T20I wickets record after dismissing the opener Colin Munro for a golden duck in the first over of that innings. Later, in the 14th over, Malinga created the new record after dismissing the set middle-order batsman Colin de Grandhomme (44 runs). Both those batsmen faced bowled dismissals. At the end of that game, the Sri Lankan captain had the bowling figures of 4-0-23-2.
Malinga is now just one wicket behind to complete his 100 T20I wickets. He will be the first bowler in T20I history to claim 100 T20I wickets.
Sri Lanka still lost against New Zealand
However, Sri Lanka suffered a defeat against New Zealand in this Pallekele T20I. After the Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga decided to bat first, Sri Lanka managed to score 174/4 (20 overs). The opener Kusal Mendis scored 79 runs off 53 balls (eight fours and two sixes) in that innings. Niroshan Dickwella (33 runs) was the only other batsman in that innings to reach the 20-run mark.
In that rain-interrupted chasing, Colin de Grandhomme (44 runs) and Ross Taylor (48 runs) played massive roles for New Zealand’s successful chasing. Later, Daryl Mitchell (25*) and Mitchell Santner (14*) safely guided the team to the victory. The visitors chased down that target in 19.3 overs after losing five wickets (175/5).
With this five-wicket victory, New Zealand has taken the 1-0 lead in this three-match T20I series.