Heinrich Klaasen entered the record books on Tuesday as he became the first player to score a century in Major League Cricket history. Klaasen's ton helped the Seattle Orcas in chasing down a mammoth target of 195 runs in a thrilling fashion, and propelled them to the top of the points table.
Batting first, MI New York posted a challenging total of 194/8 in their alloted quota of 20 overs. Caribbean batter Nicholas Pooran was the star of their show as he smashed 68 in just 34 deliveries. Kieron Pollard also did some damage to the Orcas' bowling lineup as he smashed 34 off just 18 deliveries towards the latter half of the innings.
Apart from that, there wasn't much to look at as far as contributions from the top and middle-order is considered. However, lower-order batter Trent Boult entertained the crowd and caught the Orcas bowlers by surprise as he smashed 20 runs off just six deliveries after walking in to bat in the 19th over of the innings.
The Orcas didn't get off to the kind of start they wanted as they lost Quinton de Kock and Shehan Jayasuriya within the powerplay itself. However, once Heinrich Klaasen joined Nauman Anwar at the crease, there was nothing that could stop the Orcas.
Heinrich Klaasen put on a show
The duo put on a stand of 62 runs for the third wicket. Anwar was batting well but he got dismissed just after scoring his fifty in less than 30 balls. It was all a ‘Klaasen Show' after that as the South African smashed the MI New York bowlers all around the park.
Klaasen's counterattack was so brutal that he didn't even spare a world-class spinner like Rashid Khan. His knock helped the Orcas in chasing down the target with four deliveries to spare. It was so good that even though wickets kept falling at one end, he kept going for his shots at the other end. Klaasen remained unbeaten on 110 in just 44 deliveries, and his innings was studded with nine fours and seven huge sixes.
The South African's knock stole the spotlight away from Trent Boult, who not only played an excellent cameo for MI New York but also delivered an excellent spell of 4-0-31-4. There were no surprises as far as the Player of the Match award was concerned as Klaasen got it for his breathtaking knock.
“I knew it was going to be difficult. struggled at the start with my swing but decided to pull the trigger and it worked. Trent getting those wickets got me nervous but we got over the line. I pride myself not to get out in the middle overs and try to keep the strike rate at 140-150 in that period,” Klaasen said after his match-winning century.
Brief Scores: MI New York vs Seattle Orcas – Major League Cricket 2023
MI New York 194/8 in 20 Overs (Pooran 68, Pollard 34; Singh 2/21)
Seattle Orcas 195/8 in 19.2 Overs (Klaasen 110*, Anwar 51; Boult 4/31)
Seattle Orcas won by 2 wickets.