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Malinga: Very scared to bowl to Hardik at the World Cup

Lasith Malinga turned back the clock and put on a vintage performance in Mumbai Indians’ 5-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday. He returned to the side after three matches and finished with figures of 4 for 31. Malinga, who is the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) all-time leading wicket-taker, now has seven wickets this season and expressed his delight in an exclusive interview with mumbaiindians.com after the game.    

“It felt amazing, this is a very exciting day for me because I went to Sri Lanka and it was a tough time for me in the last couple of weeks. But after I got the opportunity to play, I got four wickets for the team and then I think this is a good day. And the supporters during the game, they were shouting my name, I really enjoyed that period and I tried to do my best,” he said.

Malinga revealed how he thrives and enjoys playing with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. “We know exactly how good Jasprit is, he is the number one bowler in MI and world cricket. Hardik is really doing his job, he is a really good bowler, he shows his character. When I play with them, I think it is very easy for me to handle situations and get experience… then we really enjoy ourselves in the middle, all of us bowlers together.”

The Sri Lankan captain then admitted that he’s not particularly looking forward to being in the opposition camp and bowling to Hardik later this year at the World Cup. “I am also very scared to bowl to him,” Malinga quipped. “When I’ll play the World Cup against him, I’ll be really scared to bowl to him because we know he is in really good touch now. Yes, I think we have to restrict him and if we can get an early wicket, I will do that.”

Malinga also praised openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock for their 70-run partnership – their second successive fifty plus opening stand. “I think we know how good Rohit and Quinton are. They give us very good starts and they show their character and they know how to play in these conditions. They got the opportunity to play in our home conditions and we got 70-80 runs in the first 6-8 overs. That is good momentum for us, I think they are the main guys in our team.”