In a gripping encounter at Church Street Park, Morrisville, the Washington Freedom soared to second place on the points table with a 30-run victory over the San Francisco Unicorns on Saturday. The Unicorns, despite their valiant efforts, remained in fourth place with two wins from four matches.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, the Washington Freedom set a competitive total of 133/8 in their allotted 20 overs. Andries Gous showed promise with two boundaries early on, but Haris Rauf’s crafty bowling saw his departure for 23 runs off 16 balls in the fourth over. The Unicorns struck further blows, dismissing Matthew Short, Glenn Phillips, and Mukhtar Ahmed in quick succession, leaving the Freedom at a precarious 33/4.
Captain Moises Henriques and Obus Pienaar, however, steadied the ship with a crucial 40-run partnership from 37 balls, guiding their team to 73/5 in 12.2 overs. The Freedom encountered periodic setbacks but found hope in the late flourish provided by Marco Jansen and Dane Piedt, who struck three vital boundaries in the final overs to bolster the total.
In response, the San Francisco Unicorns began with a blazing start as Finn Allen unleashed three boundaries off Marco Jansen’s opening over. Yet, Anrich Nortje sent Allen back to the pavilion for 13 runs off 9 balls in the third over. Saurabh Netravalkar then dealt a significant blow by dismissing Marcus Stoinis and Shadab Khan in the fourth over.
Netravalkar’s brilliance continued, claiming the prized wicket of Matthew Wade, further plunging the Unicorns into trouble at 31/4. Although Corey Anderson valiantly contributed 34 runs off a run-a-ball, he received insufficient support from his teammates, and the Unicorns ultimately folded for 103 in 19.5 overs. Netravalkar emerged as the standout bowler of the match, with a remarkable spell of 6/9.
The Washington Freedom’s tenacious performance not only bolstered their position on the points table but also showcased their fighting spirit on the field. The San Francisco Unicorns, despite their defeat, demonstrated unwavering determination in their pursuit of victory. The stage is set for further captivating clashes in the Major League Cricket as the tournament progresses.
Brief Scores: Washington Freedom 133/8 (Moises Henriques 30, Obus Pienaar 29, Haris Rauf 3/20) beat San Francisco Unicorns 103 all out (Corey Anderson 34, Chaitanya Bishnoi 16, Saurabh Netravalkar 6/9) by 30 runs.