Saurabh Netravalkar and skipper Steve Smith guided Washington Freedom to a four-run win over MI New York in their rain-shortened opening match of Major League Cricket 2024 at Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina on Saturday.

Netravalkar registered impressive figures of 3/24 as MI NY ended at 154/9 in their 20 overs. Medium-pacer Justin Dill picked up 3/33 while Nicholas Pooran scored 44 from 30 balls for MI NY.

In response, Smith hit three sixes and four boundaries to top-score in the contest with an unbeaten 46 off just 28 balls. We moved to 55/1 in 7.4 overs before rain intervened with us being ahead of the par score of 51 as per the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system, a method for calculating par scores and targets in rain-affected matches. 

Bowling first, Marco Jansen struck for us as early as the third over with Dill also picking up a wicket in the powerplay. We managed to keep MI NY to 39/2 after the first six overs.

Glenn Maxwell started his journey with us in the MLC with a wicket in his first over and Netravalkar provided a crucial breakthrough dismissing MI NY skipper Kieron Pollard with half the side back as the score read 91.

Though Lockie Ferguson dismissed dangerman Pooran, MI NY bounced back with a quickfire 33-run partnership for the eighth wicket. Netravalkar picked up two wickets in the final over, including Rashid Khan who scored 31, to bring us back in the game. The left-arm seamer, along with Dill, finished with three wickets.

Chasing 155, Smith got things rolling scoring 13 runs in the fourth over. He smashed two sixes and two fours off Anrich Nortje as we ended the powerplay at 43/1.

In the end that big over proved the turning point for us as rain interrupted play in the eighth over with the score at 55/1. 

Washington Freedom vs MI New York MLC 2024 brief scores: MI NY 154/9 in 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 44, Rashid Khan 31, Saurabh Netravalkar 3/24, Justin Dill 3/33) lost to WF 55/1 in 7.4 overs (Steve Smith 46*, Ehsan Adil 1/14) by 4 runs as per DLS method.