Texas Super Kings defeated Los Angeles Knight Riders in Thursday’s (July 13) inaugural Major League Cricket match in Dallas. TSK scored 181 after Devon Conway and David Miller each scored fifty, and then bowled LAKR out for 112 despite Andre Russell’s fifty.
In spite of Conway hitting three fours in the first over, LAKR got off to a strong start in the tournament’s opening game despite choosing to bowl first. Faf du Plessis’s return to yellow was not a happy one, as the veteran struck his first delivery to extra cover and departed without scoring. Lahiru Milantha, who took some time to find his rhythm, hit Russell for a six and a four, and Conway ended the over with another boundary as they scored 15 runs to increase the run rate. Ali Khan then prevented Milantha from scoring a huge one, but Super Kings exploded after the powerplay.
At one point, while playing for the Super Kings for the first time, Miller struck out six times out of nine. A pair of draw strokes against Corne Dry yielded him boundaries, and he hit a googly from Adam Zampa over long on. A further six, this time off Ali Khan, and a further one off Russell nearly allowed him to come up with Conway. The MLC opener brought up the first fifty with a six, but was then dismissed on the next delivery. Miller also reached his half-century in the over that followed, laying the groundwork for Super Kings to capitalize.
While Lockie Ferguson halted Miller’s assault, two familiar figures stepped up for Super Kings in the dying moments. Mitchell Santner and Dwayne Bravo cleared the boundary four times in the final over to propel their team past the 180-run mark, which proved to be insurmountable given the manner in which Knight Riders began their pursuit.
Rusty Theron may be approaching the age of 38, but he demonstrated his value very early in the second innings as Martin Guptill mistimed one to fall for a duck and Rilee Rossouw sliced one back onto his stumps in the first over. While players such as Jaskaran Malhotra and Russell came out firing, TSK continued to strike to reduce LAKR to 20/4.
Russell Step put on a one-man display multiple times for the Knight Riders in the IPL, and it was the same in the United States. Malhotra momentarily entertained with a few boundaries in the powerplay, but Gerald Coetzee’s increased speed was too much for him to manage. By the conclusion of the powerplay, Russell had hit three sixes and scored 31 runs off only 10 balls. He and Sunil Narine added 47 runs for the sixth wicket to guide LAKR’s recovery. At the halfway point, LAKR had already scored 96 runs, so run rate was not a significant issue.
Had this partnership continued for a few more overs, the TSK camp may have experienced hysteria. However, Mohammad Mohsin’s double wicket over turned the contest on its head. After he bowled two googlies to dismiss Narine and Corne Dry, the Knight Riders needed a miracle from their star player Russell to cross the finish line. That evidently did not occur, as Bravo was able to induce an outside edge from Russell, who was dismissed for 55, before Mohsin broke the stumps twice in the following over to terminate LAKR’s misery.
Texas Super Kings 181/6 in 20 overs (David Miller 61, Devon Conway 55; Lockie Ferguson 2/23) beat Los Angeles Knight Riders 112 in 14 overs (Andre Russell 55; Mohammad Mohsin 4/8, Rusty Theron 2/16) by 69 runs