- The July 30 final culminated over two weeks of the league which aimed to get Americans hooked on cricket.
MI New York won the first-ever Major League Cricket championship on July 30, beating the Seattle Orcas by seven wickets at Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran’s 137 runs off 55 balls propelled New York to victory and they restricted Seattle Orcas to 183/9 before chasing down their target in just 16 overs.
The team began with a shaky start, “as Imad Wasim dismissed Steven Taylor in their third delivery of the opening over, an MLC press release said.” However, captain Pooran came to the rescue, as he hit Dwaine Pretorius “for three sixes and two boundaries in the third over.” He continued with his superb form as opening batter Shayan Jahangir fell to Wayne Parnell in the fifth over. Pooran remained unbeaten on 137 runs off 55 balls and single-handedly took MI New York over the line with 4 overs to spare.
MI New York won the toss and put Seattle Orcas into bat with Quinton de Kock striking Jessy Singh “for consecutive boundaries in the second over,” MLC said. When De Kock’s opening partner Nauman Anwar was out with nine runs off 13 balls in the fifth over by Rashid Khan, he was ably supported by Shehan Jayasuriya. After his departure, “De Kock and Shubham Ranjane put up a fantastic partnership of 51 runs from 24 balls to take Orcas’ score to 142/4 in 16.1 overs,” MLC said. After that, the Orcas kept losing wickets at regular intervals, but Dwaine Pretorius’ cameo of 21 runs from 7 balls helped his team post a formidable total on the board.
Speaking about his team’s victory, the leading run-scorer in the tournament and MLC Season 1 MVP Nicholas Pooran said, “We spoke today about having an opportunity to do something special. I am very proud of everything every individual did and everyone contributed in some way. The people in the dressing room told me that I just needed to bat like Nicky P and not think about batting like the captain. I just backed my skills. The platform was there today and the opportunity was there.”
Meanwhile, the Seattle Orcas’ Captain Wayne Parnell congratulated New York for their win. “Whenever someone plays like that, you have to give them credit,” he said. “It did not look like he (Pooran) would mishit a ball today. We put up a decent total but we have to give them credit today. The first MLC season has gone really well. Credit to everyone who has organized it. Credit to our owners and the management for picking this team and giving us the freedom to play this brand of cricket.”
Tournament awards were also handed out after the final game. Nicholas Pooran won the SLING TV Most Valuable Player of the Tournament and the Royal Rice Leading Run Scorer awards. Trent Boult was the NTT Leading Wicket Taker, while Cameron Gannon was honored as the Bart King Domestic Player of the Tournament
The play culminated over two weeks of the league which aimed to get Americans hooked on cricket. Six teams comprising some of the major cricket players and local American talents played 18 games, leading up to the championship final. Eleven matches were played at Grand Prairie Stadium near Dallas in Texas, while seven games were held at Church Street Park in North Carolina.
The league was operated by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) and has been sanctioned by USA Cricket, as well as the International Cricket Commission (ICC), as reported by ESPN.