Young fast bowler Umran Malik continued his meteoric rise in international cricket as he played a major role in securing India a tense two-run win in the first T20 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Tuesday night.
The Indian batsmen struggled on a sluggish surface at the Wankhede Stadium and it was only due to the late strikes of Deepak Hooda (41) and Axar Patel (31) that the hosts managed to post 162-5.
In reply, Sri Lanka kept losing wickets at regular intervals, with debutant seamer Shivam Mavi proving particularly effective, snaring 4-22 in his first outing. However, with India's spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar proving costly and captain Hardik Pandya unable to utilise all their overs, he needed another bowler to share the burden.
That job was done expertly by tearaway quick Malik, who not only kept the runs down and bowled super fast, he also picked up the game-changing wicket.
The Jammu and Kashmir quick bowled the 17th over with the Sri Lankans needing 40 from 24 balls. Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka had swung momentum back in his team's favour as he pulled Malik for a six over square leg to race to 45 from just 25 balls. Then, Malik cranked up the pace and bowled a pin-point yorker, before dismissing Shanaka with a full ball hurled at 155kph (96.3mph). Shanaka could only spoon the ball to cover, where Chahal held on to the chance.
Malik finished with fine figures of 2-27 from his four overs and set up the match for India, who still struggled to cross the finish line as Chamika Karunaratne hit a couple of sixes in the last two overs to bring the equation down to four needed from the last ball – bowled by Axar. A run out in the last ball helped India emerge victorious
While Mavi's four-wicket haul on debut played the biggest role in India's win, Malik's record-breaking spell played its part as well.
Malik has now bowled the fastest delivery by an Indian in international cricket, breaking the record set by Jasprit Bumrah.