Mumbai Indians debut against Nuwan Untilhara ahead of IPL 2024

SA20 Nuwan Thushara

Sri Lankan pacer Nuwan Untilhara, 29, who reminds everyone of the legendary Lasith Malinga, got it right during MI Captown’s fifth SAT20 match against Paarl Royal, which was a reverse fixture of the second edition. Untilhara took figures of 2/27 in his quota of 4 overs but that did not help MI Capetown as they suffered their third defeat of the season at Boland Park.

Before the match began, Nuwan Untilhara received his first Cape Town cap from none other than Malinga himself. Untilhara replaced the injured England bowler Olly Stone in the playing XI. He never failed to make an instant impact and hinted at all the special things to expect from him.

At 29 years old, he may be at the end of his career, but the Sri Lankan is just getting started. He made his debut for the national team in 2022 during a T20I series in Australia and has been a part of the team ever since. His crushing Yorkers and his swinging pitches are gentle reminders of the lethality for every hitter who will face him in the future.

Nuwan Untilhara’s skills were also recognized in the IPL as he bagged a deal worth Rs 4.8 million of his base price of Rs 50 Lakhs with Cape Town’s parent franchise and five-time IPL champions, the Mumbai Indians, which was also Malinga’s home. While it remains to be seen whether he will immediately slot into the eleven given his talent, Mumbai’s Sri Lankan head coach Mahela Jayawardene could also give it a try.

Especially in a season where they will be desperately looking to reach the final for the first time since the 2020 edition. If we talk about Nuwan Untilhara’s record in Sri Lanka’s domestic T20s, he has amassed an impressive 109 wickets in just 81 matches with a decent economy rate of 7.74.

MI Capetown’s defeat is a big victory for Nuwan Untilhara

MI Capetown might have lost their reverse clash against Paarl Royals by a margin of 59 runs but the standout performer was Nuwan Untilhara. The 29-year-old maintained a super-long line and gave up very few loose balls to the fire-breathing Royals hitters during his innings.

After Thomas Kaber removed dangerous opener Jason Roy for 68, Untilhara came up with a great delivery to Roy’s partner Jos Buttler. The Englishman, after a slow start, slowly accelerated his innings and also scored an important half-century.

But as he looked to hit every ball that came his way, Nuwan Untilhara’s spot on the long ball blocked the stumps of Buttler, who walked away after 54 runs off 42 deliveries. Then, in the next ball, Untilhara ripped the second off from him and led to the golden duck from No. 4 batsman Fabian Allen.

The delivery he used to remove Allen was the one many say Malinga used to use during his playing days. A deceptive, slower one that sank in time before Allen could slam the ball right into his pads for a poised LBW.

Although Nuwan Untilhara failed to complete what could have been a debut hat-trick in SA20, he surely showed that he could become a force to be reckoned with.