The 2024 season of Cognizant Major League Cricket began on Friday with MI New York launching their title defense in style, securing a decisive six-wicket victory over the Seattle Orcas. The spotlight was on Nicholas Pooran at Church Street Park in Morrisville, where the West Indian wicketkeeper-batter maintained his impressive form from the previous season. Pooran’s unbeaten 62 off just 37 balls was instrumental in MI New York successfully chasing a modest target of 109 runs in only 14.2 overs.

Despite early setbacks, including the dismissals of Ruben Clinton (6) and USA’s national team captain Monank Patel (8), which tilted the momentum towards the Seattle Orcas, Pooran’s aggressive batting turned the game around. Cameron Gannon, who claimed both early wickets in the third over, initially gave the Orcas hope. However, Pooran countered by hitting Gannon for two sixes and two fours in the subsequent over, shifting the advantage back to MI New York.

Nicholas Pooran
Nicholas Pooran struck an unbeaten 62 in MI New York victory. File photo courtesy of MLC/Andy Mead

Pooran’s explosive batting proved insurmountable for the Seattle Orcas. Although they managed to take the wickets of Shayan Jahangir (3) and Tim David (12), Pooran, supported by his compatriot Kieron Pollard (8*), guided MI New York to their first win of the season.

Earlier, MI New York’s bowlers showcased their prowess by dismissing the Seattle Orcas for a mere 108 runs. Rashid Khan and Trent Boult were the standout performers, each taking three wickets and preventing the Orcas from finding any rhythm. Boult set the tone with an early breakthrough, removing Nauman Anwar for a duck in the opening over. Anwar’s late attempt to cut the ball resulted in a faint edge, caught by wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran, who would later become the match-winner.

Seattle Orcas’ hopes rested on Quinton de Kock (5), but he too fell to Boult in his next over, top-edging a shot to Pooran. From that point, MI New York maintained control, taking regular wickets. Shubham Ranjane top-scored for the Orcas with a solid 35 off 31 balls, regularly finding the boundary. However, his attempt to hit Rashid Khan for consecutive sixes ended with a catch by Tim David. Harmeet Singh contributed a quick 20 runs, helping set a target that MI New York comfortably chased down with 34 balls to spare.

Brief Scores:
MI New York: 111/4
(Nicholas Pooran 62*, Tim David 12, Cameron Gannon 2/40)
Seattle Orcas: 109 (Shubham Ranjane 35, Harmeet Singh 20, Rashid Khan 3/22)