With the full Minor League Cricket season in the books and the best XIs decided, Tom Nielsen takes a breath and looks back at the top individual match performances of the Minor League Cricket season.
By nature, top batting performances are more impactful than top bowling performances. Simply put, there are no limits on how long a batter can bat for, while bowlers are restricted to just the four overs. To emphasize this point, there were 28 batting innings that were more valuable by total impact than the best bowling innings of the season. But we don’t want to ignore our bowling friends, so we’ll look at the top four batting performances, top four bowling performances, and two special all-round performances for our top 10. Batting and Bowling Impact figures were used to determine this list.
Top Batting Performances
Jonathan Foo, The Philadelphians vs DC Hawks: 86* (45) and Batting Impact +63.9
The Philadelphians were floundering, down 31/4 in the sixth over trying to chase down the DC Hawks’ 157 in a key divisional matchup. In came Jonathan Foo for the last ball of the powerplay, with a massive task ahead of him to rebuild. Foo took it easy early, taking just 4 runs from his first 8 balls before finishing off the tenth over with back-to-back sixes off Sarbjeet Singh Ladda (remember the name!). Jonathan Foo wasn’t finished with poor Sarbjeet, taking him for another three sixes in the sixth over, and for good measure a string of 6-4-6 in the eighteenth over. Foo would go on to clinch the victory in the final over with another couple sixes in a thrilling 3-wicket victory with just one ball remaining.
Jonathan Foo, BABY!!!! 8 off 3 balls now, can he pull this off?!?! pic.twitter.com/4eOpaJv2ke
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) September 11, 2021
Ryan Scott, Michigan Cricket Stars vs Houston Hurricanes: 118 (48) and Batting Impact +62.5
The joint-top score of the regular season and the first century (hit on the same day, just prior to Corey Anderson’s 108* for the Irving Mustangs) of Minor League Cricket came from Ryan Scott of the Michigan Cricket Stars. This was an absolutely blistering performance from Scott, consisting of (an MiLC record) 13 sixes and seven fours, for a strike rate of 246-all against a strong bowling attack featuring Ali Khan, Willem Ludick, and Karthik Gattepalli on a turf wicket at the Prairie View Cricket Complex. Surprisingly, he was still the first wicket down for his team, as he and Leniko Boucher pounded out a 171-run opening partnership in 13.5 overs on their way to a 221 run total, defended easily for a Michigan Cricket Stars victory.
There it is – the first century in the Toyota #MinorLeagueCricket Championship!
Ryan Scott smashes 💯 for the Michigan Cricket Stars! pic.twitter.com/xfgK42fQPp
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) August 14, 2021
Unmukt Chand, Silicon Valley Strikers vs Austin Athletics: 132* (69) and Batting Impact +60.9
Arguably the most legendary innings of the Minor League Cricket season came from Unmukt Chand of the Silicon Valley Strikers. Facing a tall chase of 184 in a winner-take-all game three of the Pacific Conference Semi-finals, Unmukt Chand delivered when it mattered most. Chand accumulated a MiLC-record 15 fours as well as seven sixes, and his 132 runs accounted for 70% of the Strikers’ total. Chand handed it over to Gary Graham to finish off a 6-wicket victory with a six in the final over to send the Strikers to Finals weekend, where they would go on to win the championship.
A huge 6️⃣ and it's 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ from only 52 deliveries. @UnmuktChand9 delivers when his team needs it most, in a must-win game for the Strikers to advance to the finals.
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) September 26, 2021
Jaskaran Malhotra, Morrisville Cardinals vs Orlando Galaxy: 90* (35) and Batting Impact +60.3
In what might be the most statistically eye-popping innings of the season with bat or ball, Jaskaran Malhotra carried the Morrisville Cardinals on his back to victory against the Orlando Galaxy. Chasing a paltry total of 98, Malhotra chased it down almost by himself – scoring 90 runs with eight sixes and seven fours. This was the fastest innings of Minor League Cricket (minimum 20 balls), at a strike rate of 257. Malhotra peaked in overs three through six, bopping 19, 15, 15, and 15 runs respectively and facing all but three balls for the Cardinals. Malhotra eventually finished off the innings and the match in fine style with back-to-back sixes in the ninth over for a nine wicket victory.
Jaskaran Malhotra continues to give 🤯 mind blowing 🤯 performances for the Morrisville Cardinals and their local fans!!! If you missed his unforgettable 90*(35) on Saturday sit back, relax, and enjoy his strike rate go ⬆️ ⬆️ ⬆️ pic.twitter.com/Yk47WoX9xj
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) August 30, 2021
Top Bowling Performances
Sarbjeet Singh Ladda, DC Hawks vs Atlanta Param Veers: 4/8 in 4.0 overs and Bowling Impact -35.2
Just a week before his fateful matchup with Jonathan Foo, Sarbjeet Singh Ladda was on the other side of glory with an outstanding four wickets and just eight runs conceded from four overs for the DC Hawks versus the Atlanta Param Veers. In the sixth and eighth overs, Sarbjeet removed the opening batters for Atlanta in Amit Sood and Zain Sayed. Despite an incredible 2.00 economy rate, the rest of the bowling attack was not so fruitful, going for 10.38 an over as the Atlanta Param Veers chased down 166 with 7 balls to spare. A brutal reminder that bowlers don’t have as much leeway to single-handedly win a match as batters do.
Abheyender Singh, Golden State Grizzlies vs Hollywood Master Blasters: 5/17 in 4.0 overs and Bowling Impact -31.9
The Hollywood Master Blasters were cruising (albeit a little slowly) at 73/2 after 12 overs when Abheyender Singh entered the attack for the Grizzlies. Singh took a wicket and conceded just one run in the 13th and followed it up with two runs and a wicket in the fifteenth, piling the pressure on the Master Blaster batters. Singh was given the ball for the final over, and removed set batter Cody Chetty and a couple tail-enders to prevent a late flurry and restrict the Master Blasters to 115/8. The Grizzlies chased this down with relative ease, and Abheyender Singh took home a well-deserved man of the match award.
That’s Number Five!
Abheyender Singh bags himself a fifer!
Golden State Grizzlies restrict Hollywood Master Blasters to 115/8 in their 20 overs
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) August 29, 2021
Manoj Acharya, Manhattan Yorkers vs Empire State Titans: 4/13 in 4.0 overs and Bowling Impact -30.3
Facing an Empire State Titans team battling for first place on the final day in the season, Manoj Acharya turned in a match-winning performance. Empire State opened the batting and were held to just 17 runs in the powerplay with the loss of a wicket, aided by a couple of tight overs from Acharya. Empire State would build to 79/2 by the time Acharya came back into the attack in the fifteenth over. Acharya came back with a vengeance, taking out both set batsmen Javein Thomas and Christopher Barnwell with his first two balls of the over. He repeated the act a few overs later, taking out Bhaskar Yadram (who had bashed 37 from 13) and Marvin Darlington to open the final over of the match. All in all, Acharya reduced the Titans’ total by 30 runs, which would prove vital in a final-ball 3-wicket win for the Yorkers.
Karthik Gattepalli, Houston Hurricanes vs St. Louis Americans: 4/12 in 4.0 overs and Bowling Impact -29.4
Gattepalli did his damage in the final over of the powerplay with a double-wicket maiden taking out both St. Louis opening batters-Luke Schofield on 17 (20) and Yash Mahajan on 18 (13). This is the only multi-wicket maiden on this list and one of just nine in Minor League Cricket all season. The young left-arm spinner took another wicket in each of the 16th and 18th overs on his way to a super tight 4/12 from his 4.0 overs as the St. Louis Americans stumbled to 98 all out. The Hurricanes’ batting attack chased this down with ease in a 7-wicket victory.
Top All-Round Performances
Hammad Azam, Golden State Grizzlies vs Seattle Thunderbolts: 69* (46) and 1/2 in 2.0 overs, Total Impact +58.5
The MVP of the inaugural Minor League Cricket season turned in stellar all-round performances all season for the Golden State Grizzlies. The best by overall impact came on the penultimate weekend in the middle of the playoff chase against the Seattle Thunderbolts. With the Grizzlies collapsing at 17/4 in the sixth over, Hammad Azam stepped to the crease – in just one of three matches he’d appear as early as the powerplay all season. Azam put in what was by his standards a measured performance, taking just 11 runs from his first 16 balls to try to stabilize the Grizzlies’ opening innings. But his trademark heavy hitting would come in time, as he bashed 58 off his final 30 balls – at a strike rate of 193 – to guide the Grizzlies to a defendable total of 128/8. Azam’s teammates picked up the slack with the ball as the Thunderbolts crawled to a total of just 68, aided by Azam’s two runs from 2.0 overs.
Hammad Azam has been eating his spinach! pic.twitter.com/MWZUjxbuNH
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) September 11, 2021
Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Orlando Galaxy vs New Jersey Stallions: 4/9 in 4.0 overs and 69* (46), Total Impact +55.7
The eventual league runners-up New Jersey Stallions were riding high in the Eastern Division headed into Labor Day, with a commanding 8-point lead in the standings. The opening match of the weekend against the struggling Orlando Galaxy should have been relatively straight-forward, but Tagenarine Chanderpaul had other ideas. The Stallions opened the batting, and were 67/4 when Chanderpaul started his four-over spell in the thirteenth over to suffocate the Stallions’ innings. Chanderpaul’s nine runs and four wickets were capped off by a couple wickets in a 3-run penultimate over to hold the Stallions to a total of just 99. Not done yet, Chanderpaul went on to open the batting for the Galaxy and led the chase, contributing 69 of Orlando’s 101 runs off of just 46 balls. Chanderpaul’s match impact of +55.7 runs was the difference in their 6-wicket victory with 10 balls remaining.
Orlando Galaxy only need 4 runs to win the game against the NJ Stallions after two mighty sixes from Tagenarine Chanderpaul 🤩🤩🤩 pic.twitter.com/qAFQIalqB6
— Minor League Cricket (@MiLCricket) September 4, 2021