Of the 14 matches Mumbai have played this season so far, Malinga has played just 10 but he is their second highest wicket taker with 15 wickets. Jasprit Bumrah tops the list with 17 wickets but those have come in 14 matches. Malinga's strike rate of 15.13 is the best for any Mumbai Indians bowler this season. He is also the only Mumbai bowler other than Alzarri Joseph to take four or more wickets in an innings this season and he did it twice.
After a dismal 2017 season in the IPL, Malinga was unsold in 2018 and took up a role of grooming young seamers in the Mumbai Indians setup. This year, his average, wickets and strike rate are way better than in 2017. He has leaked runs, though, as an economy of 9.59 shows but his wicket-taking skills are so important that Mumbai have every reason to stick with him in the playing XI.
With 68 scalps at the Wankhede, Malinga has the maximum number of wickets at the venue. He has played 43 matches there right from 2009 for Mumbai Indians and edges past Harbhajan Singh for most wickets at the venue.
Of his 15 wickets in the season, 10 have come at the Wankhede. His performances include three 3-plus wicket hauls at the venue - 3/34 vs Chennai Super Kings, 4/31 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore and 3/35 against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.
What will worry Mumbai, though, is that there are no matches at Wankhede in the playoffs. Malinga's record outside the Wankhede has been very unimpressive this season. Can the Lankan turn up in the playoffs with similar performances in tougher conditions?
First Published: May 5, 2019, 11:52 PM IST