It was defeat in Dallas for Washington Freedom as our Major League Cricket campaign began with a narrow five-wicket loss at the hands of Seattle Orcas.
After losing the toss, Freedom were sent in to bat with Andries Gous and Matt Short, who had arrived from Australia just hours earlier as an injury replacement for Josh Philippe, opening the batting.
Freedom got off to a difficult start, with Short and then Mukthar Ahmed falling in the first three overs, but contributions from Gous (28), Glenn Phillips (20) and the skipper Moises Henriques (24) brought us back into the game.
However, the match would turn in the Orcas favor as Gous and Henriques fell in consecutive deliveries to leave Freedom 89 for five with eight overs to go.
But cometh the hour and cometh Akeal Hosein, whose excellent late-order 33 not out off 22 balls would lift us to a competitive total of 144 for seven at the halfway point.
Hosein’s best bits
Freedom’s defence got off to an excellent start with tight overs bowled from Marco Jansen, Saurabh Netravalkar and Anrich Nortje keeping Orcas batters in check.
History was made when Nortje knocked over fellow South African Quinton de Kock for Freedom’s very first Major League wicket.
Freedom’s first ever MLC wicket
Good would get better for Freedom, as Hosein dismissed Shehan Jayasuria and the skipper Henriques claimed the vital wicket of Heinrich Klaasen to leave Orcas 43 for three.
Henriques removes Klaasen
But two fine batting partnerships, first between Imad Wasim and Nauman Anwar, and then Imad Wasim and Shimron Hetmyer after Anwar departed would see Orcas to the finish line.
There was brief hope when, with six needed off the final over, Jansen dismissed Hetymer to leave Orcas with five needed off four balls, but the calm head of Shubham Ranjane saw them home.