Finn Allen Matt Short

San Francisco Unicorns Chase Down LA Knight Riders In Dallas

The San Francisco Unicorns opened their 2024 Major League Cricket (MLC) campaign with a win over their California rivals, the Los Angeles Knight Riders, after chasing down 165 with four overs to spare at the Grand Prairie Stadium, near Dallas.

Having won the toss, the Knight Riders’ score looked respectable against recent results on the ground, but, following a nervy start, the Unicorns’ pair of Finn Allen and Matthew Short combined with explosive six-hitting prowess to turn the game on its head and give the Bay Area team its first win to take them top of the MLC table.

Earlier in the evening, Unicorns’ captain and USA international Corey Anderson put the Knight Riders into bat in blustery conditions, with Brody Couch combining with Pakistani Haris Rauf to stifle the Knight Riders’ top order with pace and variation in the early overs.

First blood went to Rauf, with Sunil Narine, the Knight Riders’ captain, skying to Matthew Short, before Couch took form batsman Unmukt Chand’s wicket in the following over for a five-ball duck. A steady recovery followed, with the LA franchise ending the six-over powerplay on 42/2.

Despite promising starts from opener Jason Roy, who posted 26 and was eventually bowled by Liam Plunkett, Shakib Al Hasan, 35 from 26 balls, Nitish Kumar, 20 runs from 19, and David Miller, 24 from 18, the Knight Riders never kicked on and ended on what looked to be a par total thanks to West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell who smashed a quickfire 40, including this season’s longest six, to take the team to 165/6 after their allotted overs.

With the lights on and the wind dying down, San Francisco Unicorns’ explosive opening pair of Finn Allen and Jake Fraser-McGurk came to the crease with intent. Following a fruitful first over which saw Spencer Johnson hit for two boundaries, the bowler returned in his next set of six to take the slightest of bottom edges off Fraser-McGurk’s bat to be caught behind after a successful on-field review.

The next man in, Australian batsman Short, then combined with Allen to dismantle the Knight Riders’ bowling attack and take full command of the game. The two shared a partnership of 116 from 52 balls, which included five consecutive sixes from Allen, who eventually lost his wicket when caught off Johnson for 63. Short continued where Allen left off, reaching 58 off 26 before being bowled by Sunil Narine, leaving the team in a dominant position.

Following a 15 run contribution by Josh Inglis, captain Corey Anderson and Hassan Khan steered the Unicorns home in over 16 to take them top of the MLC table on net run rate, above MI New York, with LA Knight Riders now sitting fourth after one win from their two matches.

Brief Scores: San Francisco Unicorns 166/4 (Finn Allen 63, Matthew Short 58) beat Los Angeles Knight Riders 166/4 (Andre Russell, 40*, Shakib Al Hasan 35) by six wickets.