The Texas Super Kings pulled off a sensational chase to secure their spot in the playoffs in the inaugural MLC season. Super Kings chased down the target of 172 runs with three wickets to spare thanks to some brilliant batting performances from Milind Kumar and Daniel Sams.
Kumar, who has struggled for form in recent matches, scored a 42-ball 52 while Sams scored an 18-ball 42 to help the Super Kings overcome the crucial encounter.
San Francisco Unicorns won the toss and elected to bat first. Finn Allen (4) lost his wicket in the first over of Daniel Sams. Matthew Wade (49) then aimed to set the tone for the innings but could not find the best partners as Stoinis (13) and Shadab (20) struggled to make much of an impact. Corey Anderson (14) struggled to find his rhythm and eventually fell after a massive six.
The unicorns got the boost they needed when Chaitanya Bishnoi came to the crease. Bishnoi’s 21-ball 35 and a quick performance from captain Aaron Finch (19) took the Unicorns to a challenging 171-6.
Gerald Coetzee, who conceded 31 runs and took four wickets, was the pick of the bowlers for TSK. Sams and Mitchell Santner took two wickets each.
Chasing 172 for victory, the Super Kings got off to a poor start when they lost captain Faf du Plessis in the very first over. Conway (30) got off to a good start in the powerplay but was dismissed soon after. The early dismissals of Miller(10) and Santner(7) saw the Super Kings’ fate hang in the balance as they were reduced to 92/5 in the 14th over.
Milind Kumar was on 24 off 28 balls but needed a partner.
Then came the turning point in the game. Milind Kumar took on leg-spinner Shadab Khan and looked to bring in some much-needed pace. Coming to the crease, Daniel Sams immediately launched the attack as if he had been batting all day on a challenging pitch.
Targeting the 15th over bowled by Stoinis, the duo plundered 17 runs. Finch and Harris turned to Rauff in an attempt to break the partnership, but Milind Kumar managed to hit a six off the first ball, putting the bowling side under severe pressure.
16 runs were scored in the over. Daniel Sams stunned everyone by smashing Shadab’s 21 runs in the 17th over for a hat-trick of sixes to reduce the margin to 14 runs in 2 overs. Despite losing Kumar and Sams, TSK bats comfortably trailing the score with 5 balls to spare.
The win was crucial for the Super Kings, who are in second place just behind the Seattle Orcas. They joined Orcas and Freedom as the third team to qualify for the playoffs.
The San Francisco Unicorns still have an outside chance of qualifying, but MI New York are more likely to reach the crucial knockout stages of the tournament thanks to their superior NRR (1.319).