Matheesha Pathirana becomes the youngest overseas player to win IPL
Sri Lanka's Matheesha Pathirana has officially become the youngest foreign player to win the Indian Premier League (IPL). Known as 'Baby Malinga', Pathirana attained the feat when Chennai Super Kings beat Gujarat Titans to claim their fifth IPL title. The 20-year-old was a vital member of MS Dhoni's Yellow Army during the season. He finished the season with 19 wickets from just 12 matches.
Why does this story matter?
Pathirana is a burgeoning talent in Sri Lankan cricket. He replaced New Zealand pacer Adam Milne in the CSK squad midway through the IPL 2022 season. While he played just two games last season, Dhoni brought the best out of him this time. At 20 years and 162 days, he is now the youngest overseas player to win the cash-rich league.
Third-youngest to clinch the trophy
CSK all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja remains the youngest player to win the IPL trophy (at 19 years and 178 days in 2008). Rahul Chahar follows him on the list (at 19y 281d in 2019). Pathirana chips in at number three here.
Third-most wickets for CSK in IPL 2023
Pathirana's Malinga-like bowling action troubled the batters throughout IPL 2023. CSK skipper Dhoni was vice with the handling of the Sri Lankan seamer. Pathirana ended up as CSK's third-highest wicket-taker in the season, having scalped 19 wickets in 12 games (ER: 8.00). He was only behind Tushar Deshpande (21) and Ravindra Jadeja (20) on the wickets tally among CSK bowlers.
Most death-over wickets in IPL 2023
Pathirana's toe-crushing yorkers make him an asset in the death overs in T20 cricket. As per ESPNcricinfo, Pathirana's tally of 18 wickets in death overs (16-20) was the most for a bowler in IPL 2023. His closest rival was GT's Mohit Sharma (13). Notably, Pathirana averaged an excellent 9.94 in the last four overs during the season.
A look at his T20 numbers
Pathirana, who represented Sri Lanka in the 2020 and 2022 Under-19 World Cups, is enjoying his early days in T20 cricket. He has raced to 26 wickets in 22 games at an economy of 7.83. The 20-year-old made his T20I debut in last year's Asia Cup clash against Afghanistan, claiming 0/16 in one over. This remains his solitary international outing to date.