Opinion & Interest

Cricket Hits the Major Leagues in America

Cricket Hits the Major Leagues in America

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Opinion & Interest

Atheticism. Fast batspeed. Courage. Skill. All of these things will be on offer when America’s newest sports league kicks off on Thursday night. Major League Cricket is not the first incursion of cricket into America. Previous attempts to launch a T20 cricket league include 2004’s Pro Cricket and the frequently deferred American Premier League (APL).

Major League Cricket is launching on a very different scale, as investment from India’s world leading IPL (Indian Premier League) franchises proves. Four of the six teams will be IPL affiliated, and, the tournament will see world-class cricket in America between the 13th-31st July.

What’s the format?

A single round robin stage will see the six teams face off against each other once before playoff matches, beginning on 27th July. Matches will be played in the T20 format. For the uninitiated, that means each side made up of 11 players having 20 overs (of six balls each) aims to score more runs than the opposition. Each batsman may be out only once per match, with teams able to lose a total of 10 wickets. Bowlers may bowl a maximum of four overs per match. In the event of a tie, a super over is played, with teams having one over to score more than the opposition.

Where and when can I watch?

The round robin games are taking place in Dallas, Texas and Morrisville, North Carolina. Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas will host the playoffs. The tournament will be broadcast live on Willow in the USA and Canada.


Who to look out for on each team.

  • LA Knight Riders – The LA Knight Riders’ will look to get off to a fast start through England’s World Cup winning opener Jason Roy and New Zealand’s Martin Guptill. Behind them, look out for powerful South African Rilee Roussouw, all-rounder Andre Russell, and some potentially bamboozling spin from Sunil Narine and Adam Zampa. Lockie Ferguson is one of the fastest bowlers in the world and will take wickets in what should be a strong side.
  • MI New York – A well-balanced looking side with middle order power to burn in the form of West Indian Kieron Pollard, Australian Tim David, and Zimbabwian David Wiese. Keep a close eye on Dewald Brevis too. The young South African is one of the most exciting hitters in world cricket and could take this competition by storm. Kagiso Rabada offers pace and quality with the ball, while Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s captain and spinner, has a claim to being the best one day cricketer in the world.
  • San Francisco Unicorns – Australians Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis will look to go big, while Liam Plunkett was a key part of England’s 50 over World Cup win in 2019 as well as enjoying a minor-league stint with the Philadelphians.
  • Seattle Orcas – Quinton de Kock is a world-class wicketkeeper batsman and will look to set the tone at the top of the order. Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza is explosive with both bat and ball, while Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka offers another very strong all-round option. NFL fans might be interested to see an Aaron Jones plying his trade in the north too, albeit this one is of slighter build than the Packers running back.
  • Texas Super Kings – New Zealander Devon Conway’s runs will be key in the South. Another left hander, David Miller is an IPL mainstay too, scoring 481 runs at an impressive strike rate of 142.72 in Gujarat Titan’s winning season in 2022.
  • Washington Freedom – A varied bowling attack will be headlined by the ferocious speed of Anrich Nortje, who bowls upwards of 90mph and Sri Lanka’s wily spinner, Wanindu Hasaranga. Hasaranga will be pleased to be playing on the same side as Glenn Philips who in addition to being one of the world’s best fielders, scored a terrific century against Hasaranga’s side in last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

What about American players?         

Plenty of Americans will feature. American Harmeet Singh, captain and left arm bowler for the minor-league Seattle Thunderbolts, was the first pick in the draft. Andries Gous and Steven Taylor completed the top three. Major League Cricket envisions itself as part of a pathway to the top of the game for home-grown stars, and the extent to which the MLC will help to raise the level of the US national team will therefore be a key question in the tournament’s first decade. The men’s side appeared at the recent 50 over World Cup Qualifying tournament but failed to claim either of the berths at October’s main event, losing out to Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, who will join the top eight nations who qualified automatically. MLC is set to provide huge exposure to world class cricket for American players. Like other T20 leagues around the world, sides must play a minimum number of local players; In MLC’s first season, each team must field at least five American players per match, with one domestic under-23 player in each squad. The experience will no doubt stand the USA in good stead when they, along with the West Indies, host next year’s T20 World Cup.

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