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Is Mitchell Starc the new Lasith Malinga?

Who is the best death bowler in this World Cup - Malinga or Starc?

Mitchell Starc has been very impressive in this World Cup so far

When you think of Lasith Malinga, the first thing that comes to your mind is his reputation as one of the world’s most fearsome death bowlers. He can bowl those toe-crushing yorkers at will and with that slingy action, the Lankan bowler has proven very difficult to pick.

Malinga has the most number of four-wicket hauls of all players playing currently. Of the 282 wickets that the pacer has taken so far, 32.62% of his victims have been out bowled. A simple application of the age-old “You miss, I hit” motto seems to be the preferred ideology of the Mumbai Indians star bowler.

But the Galle lad seems to have lost his Midas touch in the current edition of the World Cup. With stalwarts like Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas having retired already, the onus of spearheading the attack of the Lankan Lions now rests on him.

But despite riding high on the batting prowess of Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan, the bowling of the island nation has looked very mediocre. Now as the tournament progresses to the knockout stage, the fastest Sri Lankan bowler needs to find form and deliver the much needed sucker punch.

The next gen arrives

As Malinga looks to retain his sting, the World Cup has seen plenty of quality death bowling in other quarters. As it has happened quite often in history, when a legend fails to deliver, there is always a new kid on the block looking to sweep the giant off his feet. The competition is stiff and young guns have stepped up their game and delivered the goods for their respective teams. 

In this particular scenario, we have the young and dynamic Mitchell Starc rising up and owning the world stage. Everything seems to be falling in the right place for this New South Wales pacer. He has bowled with serious pace and aggression and has been rewarded with the best bowling average in the World Cup so far. He is also the leading wicket-taker in ODIs in 2015 with 24 wickets, while the Lankan pacer has only 11 wickets this year. 

This is how these two have fared in the tournament so far:

  Player

Matches

Wickets

SR

Economy

Average

4Ws

5Ws

Lasith Malinga

6

11

31.45

5.39

28.27

0

0

Mitchell Starc

4

12

16.16

3.77

10.16

0

1

 

There is more than a substantial difference in the stats of the two pacers, and the fans are bound to wonder whether we are seeing a radical shift in pace bowling honours at the world stage. The veteran who shined in the previous two World Cups is facing tough odds in Australia. He has failed to bring his “A” game to the forefront as he battles hard to get back his place as one of the premier fast bowlers in the world and arguably the finest death bowler.

But the show must go on and it looks like that Starc is the new kid on the block as of now. There’s no denying the fact that he has certainly raised the roof and has also outperformed his fellow teammate Mitchell Johnson. His brilliant bowling spell of 6 for 28 against arch rivals New Zealand brought life back into an otherwise dull match. His bowling performance rekindled the thrill in a low-scoring affair.

Malinga still has plenty to offer

This should be the perfect wake-up call for Malinga. He still has enough juice left in him to put forward a stellar performance. The curly haired pacer is an important cog in the Sri Lankan wheel and they need him at his best if they are to win their second World Cup.

As far as the case for the Australian goes, he is still very young and still has a lot to learn. Given the form and the aptitude he has shown for improvement, he certainly is one of the brightest prospects in world cricket. He has all the ingredients to be a legendary fast bowler.

But true greatness can only be achieved through consistency, and there is still a long way to go for the young lad. He has tasted success for the first time in his career and should not let the situation get the better of him.

There is a lot of cricket left in the tournament and the competition will only get thicker from here on. Individuals need to put their hand up and own responsibility. Malinga may not have the rub of the green as of now, but he has the experience to perform in a crunch situation. He has delivered the goods before; no one is likely to forget the 4 wickets in 4 balls he took in the 2007 World Cup match against the Proteas.

Great situations tend to bring the best out of top players and Malinga surely knows this. It will be a delight to see the Lankan on song again.

But for the moment, the tide is certainly in favour of the Australian.

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