Monday, July 15, 2024

MLC 2024: Smith leads by example in Washington Freedom’s rain-hit victory over defending champions


The MLC 2024 is underway, and MI New York initiated their campaign with a comfortable victory over the Seattle Orcas in the tournament’s opening game. However, in their second match against a reformed Washington Freedom side, they faced a major backlash earlier in the tournament.

Ex-Australian captain Steven Smith has been signed in as the new skipper for Washington Freedom for MLC 2024. After a T20 World Cup squad snub, the veteran batter would be looking to prove his worth in the format.

Washington Freedom won the toss and put the defending champions to bat on a sloppy track. The MINY side started on a weak note as their top-order tumbled with only Nicholas Pooran building a slight partnership alongside opener Clinton, who fell to Maxwell in the 8th over while looking to play an unconventional short.

Nicholas Pooran was the pick of the batters for MI New York, scoring 44 runs. While big-hitters Tim David and Kieron Pollard failed to produce anything, it took a 15-ball, 31-run knock from Afghan skipper Rashid Khan that took the defending champions to a fighting total of 154.

ALSO READ: Top 5 bowlers who can be the highest wicket-taker of MLC 2024

In reply to this, the Australian duo of skipper Steve Smith and, in form, Travis Head stepped in on the field for the Washington Freedom. The start was not convincing as Head fell to Ehsan Adil in the second over. Smith, alongside American World Cup star Gous, didn’t seem to get going until Nortje came to bowl in the powerplay. The Australian veteran took South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in the World Cup for 22 runs, hitting 2 fours and 2 sixes of him.

That is what got the Freedom scoreboard going, and Gous hit 2 consecutive boundaries of Rashid Khan to take Freedom to 55/1 in the 8th over when rain forced the players to head out of the ground. Lightning and thunder alongside dense showers denied further play, as the Washington Freedom had the final laugh as they secured a win over the defending champions with a 4-run advantage over the DLS par score. This is their first victory of the season under new skipper Steven Smith.

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