Malinga equals Akram's tally, becomes joint third-highest wicket-taker in World Cups

Among the Sri Lankan bowlers, Malinga is second, behind Muttiah Muralitharan.

Lasith Malinga took the wickets of Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope and Oshane Thomas on Monday.   -  Getty Images

Lasith Malinga on Monday became the joint third-highest wicket-taker in World Cups with 55 wickets, equalling Pakistan legend Wasim Akram's tally with a three-wicket haul against the West Indies in Durham. Only Glenn McGrath (71) and compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan (68) have more wickets than him. The 35-year-old has been one of the better performers in a disappointing World Cup campaign for Sri Lanka, which dropped out of contention for the semifinals with the defeat to South Africa and England's victory over India on Sunday.

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Malinga played his first World Cup in 2007 in the Caribbean, where he finished with 18 wickets and was one of the key players in Sri Lanka's run to the final. The 35-year-old pacer also became the first bowler ever to pick four wickets in four balls in ODIs during that edition. He achieved that feat against South Africa at Providence, Guyana, in a match which the Proteas narrowly won.

In the 2011 World Cup, Malinga picked up 13 wickets in seven games, including a hat-trick against Kenya in the group stage, thereby becoming the first bowler to take two World Cup hat-tricks. He gave Sri Lanka the perfect start in the Wankhede final against India by removing Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early.

Malinga continued the trend of claiming 10-plus wickets at cricket's grandest stage in the 2015 Trans-Tasman World Cup. He took 12 wickets in seven games at the tournament and was his country's leading wicket-taker.

Malinga has had a challenging few months. With Sri Lanka Cricket making it compulsory for the players to play the Super Provincial one-day tournament before naming the World Cup squad, Malinga, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, shuttled between Mumbai and Colombo to play for Galle, hours after turning out for his IPL franchise. Then, ahead of Sri Lanka's World Cup fixture against Australia, Malinga went home to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law before flying back to the UK. 

Malinga has 12 wickets in six games at this World Cup with a game in hand for Sri Lanka.