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Malinga

'I didn't do anything for the team' – Malinga rues personal failure after series loss

Sri Lanka T20I skipper Lasith Malinga rued his failure to contribute after his side went down to India by 78 runs in the 3rd T20I played in Pune on Friday, 10 January.

Malinga's woes against India came to the fore once again, as he went wicketless and conceded 81 runs combined in the two completed games in the series. The leading wicket-taker in the format now averages 72.50 and has an economy of 8.70 against India. On Friday, the skipper again failed to make an impact and conceded 15 runs in the penultimate over, allowing Virat Kohli's men to get past 200 despite a fine effort from spinners Lakshan Sandakan and Wanindu Hasaranga in the middle overs.

Malinga praised with the efforts of the spin duo, but regretted his personal failure in the series loss.

"We lost 2-0. I have to perform well because I have experience playing T20 cricket, but I didn't get a single wicket in this tournament. That is why we are in this situation... 65-70 per cent," said the veteran. "Going forward, I am looking forward to get my job done. I can't give an excuse to others (on non-performance) as I have wicket-taking variations, skills. I have the experience in franchise cricket but at the end of the day, in this tournament, I did not do anything for the team.

"We have got a plus point, that is Dhananjaya and [Lakshan] Sandakan and [Wanindu] Hasaranga bowled well in these conditions and against this kind of batting line-up."

Apart from Malinga's poor returns, it was the collective batting failure that got magnified yet again after the series loss. While the innings never really got going in the first game in Indore, two clusters of wickets: one in the powerplay and one at the end summed up the malaise in Pune. The skipper demanded more application from his young batsmen, which he thinks has been missing for a long time now.

"The top-four batsmen have to get big runs like 70-80 runs and others have to play around them," he said. "Angelo (Matthews) and Dhananjaya showed how it is easy to play in these conditions. We need to get that mental preparation and the hunger to get runs and that is what the top-order lacked in this tournament.

"Previously, we had Sanga [Sangakkara], Mahela [Jayawardene] and [Tillakaratne] Dilshan - they knew how to build an innings. The young players are really talented - they want to play their shots - but sometimes they've to be calm and handle the situation."

Sri Lanka, the 2014 champions and two-time runners up at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup will be playing the qualifying round in the tournament's next edition later this year in Australia and Malinga realizes that his team needs to bring their 'A' game in order to make it to the tournament proper.

"This is the first time I'm trying to qualify for the World Cup. But, we've to do that. Qualifier round means it [each match] will be like a final because of the knockout nature of the tournament. Before the World Cup qualifier, we've to be on top in skill and talent. Then, we can use it to win the qualifier matches."

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