At Church Street Park, Morrisville, the Los Angeles Knight Riders claimed their maiden victory in the Major League Cricket by edging out the table-topping Seattle Orcas with a tense two-wicket win on a sunny Sunday.
Winning the toss, the Seattle Orcas elected to bat first. They got off to a decent start with the openers, Quinton de Kock and Nauman Anwar, laying a solid foundation. However, de Kock’s promising start of 10 runs was cut short in the 4th over, followed by Anwar departing for 32 runs, leaving the Orcas closing in on the 50-run mark. Shehan Jayasuriya and Heinrich Klaasen then took charge, leading the charge for the Orcas. Unfortunately, Klaasen’s innings was halted at 25 runs in the 9th over.
Undeterred by the fall of wickets around him, Jayasuriya displayed fine form and reached a crucial half-century. Shubham Ranjane contributed well, taking the Orcas past the 100-run mark before losing his wicket cheaply. Dasun Shanaka and Imad Wasim tried to build a partnership, but Shanaka (7) couldn’t stay long at the crease. Jayasuriya, however, was relentless, guiding the Orcas beyond the 150-run milestone. Wasim (19) played a good supporting role, but fell in the final over as the Orcas finished their innings with a respectable 170 runs for the loss of six wickets. Jayasuriya remained unbeaten on a remarkable 60 runs off 45 balls. The LA Knight Riders’ bowlers performed well, with Adam Zampa taking two wickets, and Spencer Johnson, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, and Shadley van Schalkwyk each claiming one wicket.
In pursuit of the target, the LA Knight Riders got off to a dreadful start. They lost three quick wickets, with Jason Roy (2), Jaskaran Malhotra (2), and Gajanand Singh (3) back in the pavilion by the end of the 3rd over. Saif Badar (10) also followed suit, leaving the Knight Riders struggling at 22 runs for the loss of four wickets by the 5th over.
Rilee Rossouw, however, turned the tide in the Knight Riders’ favor with a magnificent knock. Partnering with Andre Russell, they stabilized the innings and pushed past the 50-run mark. A partnership of 67 runs came to an end when Russell (37) fell in the 12th over. Sunil Narine (8) departed cheaply after the Knight Riders crossed the 100-run threshold. Shadley van Schalkwyk (12) followed suit shortly after.
With the match on a knife’s edge, Rossouw showcased his class, reaching a brilliant half-century and guiding the Knight Riders closer to victory. Adam Zampa (12) offered valuable support but lost his wicket in the 17th over. Going into the last over, the Knight Riders required just two runs to win with Rossouw on strike. A six off the first ball of the final over sealed the stunning victory for the LA Knight Riders, with Rossouw finishing unbeaten on an impressive 78 runs off 38 balls.
Among the Orcas’ bowlers, Cameron Gannon claimed three wickets, while Andrew Tye took two. Wayne Parnell, Harmeet Singh, and Imad Wasim chipped in with one wicket each.
This exhilarating clash will be etched in the memory of cricket fans as the Los Angeles Knight Riders celebrated their historic triumph in the Major League Cricket.