Indian origin player Saurabh Netravalkar delivered a terrific bowling spell to propel his team Washington Freedom to a comprehensive 30-run win over San Francisco Unicorns in their Major League Cricket match at Church Street Park in Morrisville on Saturday.
Washington Freedom posted 133/8 while batting first. They were in deep trouble, having lost four wickets in the powerplay itself. But Moises Henriques and Obus Pienaar resurrected their innings with individual contributions of 30 and 29, respectively, and some valuable lower-order contributions helped them to reach a respectable total of 133/8 in their full quota of 20 overs.
The Unicorns would have fancied their chances to chase the target down as it was quite a paltry total. But they found themselves dealing with a back-breaking new ball spell from Saurav Netravalkar. South African speedster Anrich Nortje claimed the first wicket as he dismissed Finn Allen for 13 in the third over of the innings.
Saurabh Netravalkar destroys Unicorns' top order
“KING OF SWING”😎— Major League Cricket (@MLCricket) July 23, 2023
Saurabh Netravalkar takes a BRILLIANT😍 SIX-FOR to set his team up for success! pic.twitter.com/oY6o1cMqrK
It was all Netravalkar after that as the left-arm seamer dismissed Marcus Stoinis (3), Shadab Khan (0), and Matthew Wade (8) in quick succession. The Unicorns found themselves reeling at 31/4 in the sixth over as a result of Netravalkar and Nortje's terrific opening spell, but Corey Anderson and Aaron Finch put up some resistance with a 34-run stand.
But once it was broken with Finch's dismissal in the 13th over of the innings, the rest of the batting unit fell like a pack of cards. Netravalkar came back to claim the wickets of Chaitanya Bishnoi, Liam Plunkett, and Haris Rauf to finish with outstanding figures of 3.5-0-9-6. This is the third best bowling figures recorded in T20s by a player of Indian origin. Only India's Deepak Chahar (6/7) and Uganda's Dinesh Nakrani (6/7) have registered better figures than Netravalkar.
Washington Freedom won the match by 30 runs as a result of Netravalkar's terrific spell and he was adjudged the Player of the Match as well. The win helped Washington to move up to the second place in the points table while San Francisco Unicorns stayed put in fourth place with two wins from four matches.
Brief Scores: Washington Freedom vs San Francisco Unicorns – MLC 2023
Washington Freedom 133/8 in 20 Overs (Moises Henriques 30, Obus Pienaar 29; Rauf 3/20)
San Francisco Unicorns 103 All Out in 19.5 Overs (Anderson 34, Bishnoi 16; Saurabh Netravalkar 6/9)
Washington Freedom won by 30 runs.