Nicholas Pooran saved his power-hitting prowess for the championship match, as his scintillating 137* off 55 deliveries gave MI New York its first Major League Cricket championship. Quinton de Kock’s 87 propelled Seattle Orcas and gave them the lead at the midway point, but the MI New York captain blasted them out of the water with one of the finest Twenty20 innings ever.
Pooran’s extraordinary performance, which included as many as 10 fours and 13 sixes, was largely responsible for MI New York’s completion of a large chase with 24 balls remaining. The MI franchise once again demonstrated their propensity to be T20 league nobility by adding the MLC league title to their trophy cabinet, which already contained five IPL and one WPL trophy.
Asked to bat, Seattle Orcas struggled to their lowest PowerPlay total of the season, 31/1, but Quinton de Kock and Shehan Jayasuriya accelerated in the subsequent overs. Jayasuriya targeted David Wiese in the seventh over for 16 runs, while de Kock dispatched Steven Taylor for two consecutive fours in the eighth over for 11 runs. Jayasuriya was dismissed by Taylor in the following over, but the stage was set for Heinrich Klaasen and Quinton de Kock to propel the Orcas to victory in tandem.
Pooran reintroduced Trent Boult to put a stop to the duo and nearly succeeded as de Kock appeared to hole out at deep backward square leg, only for the fielder to take a few strides back and step on the ropes while still holding the ball. The South African capitalized on this reprieve by smashing 87 runs off 52 balls, including nine fours and four sixes. Rashid Khan caught Klaasen at deep midwicket, putting an end to the Orcas’ prospects of getting Klaasen rolling. Rashid bowled an exceptional spell to end with 3 for 9 and 19 dot balls in his four overs, despite the fact that de Kock and Shubham Ranjane did well to give Orcas a final aggressive drive. Boult, the finest bowler of the season by a wide margin, also claimed three wickets, but 18 runs from Wiese in the final over propelled Orcas to an intimidating total.
Pooran dismantled this within the PowerPlay itself as he smashed for the boundaries on his way to the season’s quickest fifty, off 16 balls. The West Indian strode out after Imad Wasim dismissed the opener Steven Taylor in the very first over and immediately displayed his counterattacking instincts. Pooran hit two massive sixes – over deep midwicket and long off – in the first over of Orcas’s pursuit, which started off positively.
In a 28-run over, he then saw through Dwaine Pretorius’ change of pace and disdainfully crushed length balls that the South African offered repeatedly. Pooran reached his fifty with a six off Cameron Gannon in the fourth over as MI NY reached 56/1 in just four overs. Wayne Parnell drew his team closer by dismissing Shayan Jahangir, Pooran’s passive batting companion, but Pooran responded to this setback by blasting three sixes off Andrew Tye. MI New York reached 80/2 in six overs, their highest PowerPlay returns of the season.
Pooran punished Wayne Parnell for offering him breadth and crushed Gannon’s short-pitched bowling after the field restrictions were relaxed. MI NY’s asking rate dropped below 7 by the conclusion of the eighth over as Parnell was unable to stop his team’s precipitous decline. Pooran scored 100 off 40 balls in the 12th over, but he was not finished.
Dewald Brevis was run out at the non-striking end by a stroke from Pooran that struck bowler Harmeet Singh in the palm and ricocheted onto the stumps, trapping the South African outside his crease. Tim David strode out and pulled Andrew Tye for a four in the following over, but that made no difference to the abruptly changing course of this final.
MI Pooran next targeted Harmeet, nonchalantly carrying a hat-trick of sixes in a 24-run over, and Orcas simply couldn’t keep up as New York remained entirely relentless throughout. Even when Gannon angled a yorker at the left-hander with pinpoint accuracy, Pooran was unable to make a mistake in Dallas. Pooran lost his footing, but still managed to get his bat down in time to hit the ball over the fine leg fence and conclude the run chase in 16 overs.
Brief Scores: Seattle Orcas 183/9 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 87, Shubham Ranjane 29; Rashid Khan 3-9, Trent Boult 3-34) lost to MI New York 184/3 in 16 overs (Nicholas Pooran 137*; Wayne Parnell 1-14) by 7 wickets