Cricket fans gathered at the purpose-built cricket stadium, located just a short drive from Dallas Fort Worth airport, donning the yellow shirts of the victorious Texas Super Kings. They were treated to an exhilarating match filled with big sixes and non-stop action.
The Texas Super Kings emerged triumphant, winning by 69 runs. They posted a formidable total of 181 for six and then bowled out the Los Angeles Knight Riders for 112.
Any doubts about the authenticity of cricket in America were quickly dispelled as the game unfolded and the crowd roared in support of the home team’s power-hitting display.
The stadium, formerly owned by the now-defunct Texas Airhogs minor league baseball club, has undergone extensive renovations by Major League Cricket (MLC), investing over $20 million to tailor it specifically for cricket.
Viewers watching the TV broadcast would have found it difficult to distinguish the MLC from other T20 tournaments worldwide. The presence of international players alongside domestic talent from the USA national team ensured a high standard of professional play, and the field and wicket met the required standards.
This successful venture marked a significant departure from previous short-lived attempts to introduce cricket to the American market through one-off events in unsuitable venues. It also represented a vast improvement from the domestic cricket scene, which had long been played on matting tracks.
Rusty Theron, a South African bowler playing for Texas, expressed his astonishment at the success of the opening game, acknowledging the incredible atmosphere and thanking the fans for their support.
David Miller, the Super Kings batsman who was awarded the Player of the Match for his impressive knock of 61 runs from 42 balls, including four sixes, was equally impressed. He commended the large turnout and the excellent facilities, surpassing the expectations of many who had wondered what the experience would be like.
According to Tanweer Ahmed, a Board Member of the Texas Super Kings management, several Pakistani players will be participating in the USA league. The notable Pakistani players include Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan, and Imad Wasim. Ahmed also mentioned that international players such as Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, and Andre Russell will showcase their exceptional skills and deliver outstanding performances during the league matches.
MLC has secured backing from four Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, including the Mumbai Indians, whose New York team also made their debut. The league features notable international players such as England’s Jason Roy, Australia’s Aaron Finch, South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada, David Miller, De Kock, Faf Du Plesis, Pakistan’s Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan, Imad Waseem, and West Indies’ Sunil Narine. and Andre Russell.
Additional games will be held in Morrisville, North Carolina, before the playoffs and final return to Texas. Alongside IPL team involvement, Cricket Victoria from Australia has partnered with the San Francisco Unicorns, and Cricket New South Wales has formed a similar alliance with the Washington Freedom.
The league has secured broadcasting agreements with Willow TV, a streaming service whose owners are investors in MLC, as well as Viacom18 in India.