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Superb Netravalkar inspires Freedom win

Washington Freedom secured their place in the Finals with an incredible 30-run win against San Francisco Unicorns.

Saurabh Netravalkar stole the show, as he claimed a scarcely believable six-wicket to inspire Freedom to a 30-run-win, as they successfully defended 133.

Netravalkar conceded just nine runs, making his figures comfortably the best in the competition so far, beating Wayne Parnell who had taken the first five-wicket haul of Major League Cricket for Seattle Orcas just one day ago.

The best of Netravalkar’s six wickets were his first two, as he clean bowled Australian Marcus Stoinis and Pakistan international Shadab Khan in the space of three balls to turn the match on its head.

Netravalkar wasn’t the only star of the Freedom show, however, as the team also had Glenn Phillips to thank for two of the most extraordinary catches you are ever likely to see.

Both catches saw Phillips sprinting towards the boundary with the ball travelling over his shoulder, before full length dives completed both dismissals in cinematic fashion.

His first spectacular catch was the first wicket of Freedom’s innings and was desperately needed with the Unicorns off to a flier, 18-0 after just two overs.

Unicorn’s batter Finn Allen skewed the ball over Phillips head at point, who gave chase and completed the most spectacular of catches. His second catch claimed the wicket of Matt Wade and came shortly after Netravalkar’s double strike to make Freedom favourites in the match for the first time. Almost a carbon copy, Phillips celebrated both with passion that was matched only by the Morrisville crowd.

Regular wickets would see Freedom slowly tighten their grip on a match that at the halfway point,they had very little right of winning. Their first innings total of 133 seemed below par, with only Andries Gous (23) and Moises Henriques (30) finding any form of fluency. But the tricky nature of the wicket became clear when it was San Francisco’s turn to bat. And against an inspired bowling effort, spearheaded by Netravalkar, they had no answer.