Thisara Perera regains lost mojo thanks to all-round heroics in Lahore

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It seems like an eternity had passed since the world had last seen the Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera doing anything substantial in international cricket, either with the bat or with the ball.

Thisara Perera hits a six during the second Twenty20 international against World XI. AFP

However, on Wednesday, he reminded the world of his worth as an all-rounder once again as he helped the World XI side to secure a thrilling victory against Pakistan in the second T20I of the Independence Cup at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

In the last couple of years, he had lost his reputation as a dangerous limited-overs format all-rounder. And all that was due to his poor performances with both bat and ball. He always had been the finisher in Sri Lanka’s limited-overs side for five years since he made his debut in 2009. However, he started to lose his all-round mojo from the onset of 2015. A poor run of form followed and he became an irregular member of the squad.

There is a sharp contrast between his overall statistics of the period 2009-2014 and 2015-2017. Both his batting and bowling numbers suffered since the beginning of 2015 while numbers show that he was at his best before that time-frame.

Period Matches Runs Bat Avg. 50s HS Wickets Ball Avg. Best
2009-2014 91 1046 18.67 5 80* 109 28.2 6/44
2015-2017 29 304 14.47 2 55 20 55.35 3/33

 

Perera’s decline is evident from his ODI statistics. The numbers clearly reveal how his game has gone down to such a level that even he couldn’t have imagined. His bowling has suffered the most as the average shows quite a dismal change.

A comparison of his T20I records will suggest the same.

Period Matches Runs Bat Avg. 50s HS Wickets Ball Avg. Best
2010-2014 38 466 33.28 0 49 23 26.26 2/19
2015-2017 (Before 2nd T20I World XI vs. Pakistan) 20 216 12.7 0 40 15 32.93 3/33
2015-2017 (After 2nd T20I World XI vs. Pakistan) 21 263 15.47 0 47* 17 30.41 3/33

Perera’s batting average T20Is has also undergone a sharp decline. However, his all-round performance for World XI in the second T20I against Pakistan has somewhat mended his numbers.

On Wednesday, Perera has provided a new lease of life to his career. Chasing a daunting total of 175, it was never going to be easy for Hashim Amla alone to take his side home. He needed a partner who could accelerate in equal terms at the other end as well.

The South African had already lost the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Tim Paine and his Protea teammate Faf du Plesis with 69 more runs were required to win in just 36 deliveries. That was the very moment when Thisara Perera announced his arrival to the crease. The fans were not expecting any sort of surprise from the Sri Lankan, considering his dismal form. He had leaked 51 runs in his four overs and scored just 17 runs in the first T20I. And it seemed like Perera’s long spell of struggle was going to continue.

However, the 28-year-old couldn’t have selected a better situation to break the shackles and rise like a phoenix from the ashes. With 33 runs required of the last two overs, he smashed two sixes in the 19th over and then a six of the penultimate delivery of the innings to finish things off in style.

In a partnership of 69 runs from just 35 deliveries, he ended up scoring 47 having played 19 of those deliveries. Moreover, one striking characteristic of his innings was that it was devoid of fours but consisted of five huge sixes.

In addition to his whirlwind unbeaten knock of 47, Perera had also helped in restricting Pakistan to 174/6 with an economical spell of 2/23 in three overs. Thus, he was seen at his best after a long time and he will hope that his form continues. He would be relieved to have finally ended his long dry run, a period that tormented him for more than two years. Perera would be happy to have got the monkey off his back.

Published Date: Sep 14, 2017
| Updated Date: Sep 14, 2017



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