Lasith Malinga ripped through New Zealand’s top order with an astonishing four wickets in four balls as Sri Lanka triumphed in the third T20 game in Pallekele last evening.
Malinga became the only bowler to record the feat twice in international cricket – having also taken four in four in the 50-over World Cup against South Africa in 2007.
Only one other player has matched the 36-year-old Sri Lanka skipper’s achievement in T20 internationals – Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, who removed four Ireland batsmen in as many deliveries earlier this year.
Malinga finished with figures of 5-6 as the Black Caps were eventually bowled out for 88, chasing Sri Lanka’s apparently modest total of 125-8.
The carnage began when Malinga knocked back Colin Munro’s leg stump to claim his 100th T20I wicket – and, three balls later, his tally stood at 103.
Hamish Rutherford was given out lbw on review before a pair of unplayable inswinging yorkers cleaned up Colin de Grandhomme and Ross Taylor to leave New Zealand’s reply in tatters at 15-4.
Malinga soon completed his five-for by having Tim Seifert caught at slip and the visitors collapsed completely when they lost another three wickets in four deliveries, a run-out followed by two for Akila Dananjaya (2-28).
However, Sri Lanka’s 37-run success was only a consolation victory, with New Zealand having already won the first two matches to take the series 2-1.