The Monday All Rounder – Week Two

It feels like we only just started this summer of T20 cricket across America, but somehow we are already a quarter of the way through the regular season of the inaugural Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship presented by SLING TV – with around 50 matches already in the books!

So perhaps it isn’t too early now to pick out some contenders for the championship. There’s still plenty of time for teams and players to turn their seasons around, but there are also some who have a lot of ground to make up already. Remember, only the top two teams from each of the four divisions will qualify for the playoffs starting Sept. 25. Let’s take a look at where it all stands after week two – and be sure to check out the highlights from the weekend as well!

Yorking Into Contention

When the New Jersey Stallions stormed to a fourth consecutive victory to open their season on Saturday, defeating the New England Eagles by eight wickets in the afternoon match-up at Howe Athletic Complex, they looked likely to run away with the Eastern Division. Economical bowling from Jasdeep Singh, who conceded only eight runs in four overs while taking two wickets, laid the standard for quality, controlled delivery containing the opposition. The Stallions looked tough to beat.

The Manhattan Yorkers arrived thinking otherwise when the top two teams in the Eastern Division clashed on Sunday. Yes, New York/New Jersey, we have a real rivalry on our hands here. Though Singh took the crucial wicket of the Yorkers’ Smit Patel for only four runs early on, Manhattan scratched out 113 runs, a total that turned out to be just enough – thanks largely to Manoj Acharya, who took five wickets as the Stallions were bowled out for 107 runs with a ball remaining in the contest.

It’s game on in the Eastern Division, then, with Manhattan still unbeaten and hot on the Stallions’ tail.

Eastern Division Standings

Saturday Night Lights

Before we drill into the standings in the Southern Division, let’s pause for a minute and appreciate what we saw this weekend at Church St. Park in North Carolina, home of the Morrisville Cardinals. What we saw was a glimpse of cricket’s bright future across the United States: a scenic setting with hundreds of fans out enjoying the game under the lights on Saturday evening.


On the pitch, though, the Atlanta Fire were not in the mood to let the home crowd enjoy a victory. The Cardinals were skittled out for only 70 runs, with Corne Dry the pick of the bowlers for Atlanta, taking four wickets. A few key early dismissals kept the Fire’s run chase interesting, but ultimately Atlanta simply had too much firepower (sorry!) for Morrisville to contain.

On Sunday, however, the Cardinals kept the home crowd happy with a comfortable seven wicket victory over the Param Veers, ensuring the pressure did stay on the Fire at the top of the Southern Division at the end of the weekend.

Southern Division Standings

Blow Outs

In the Central Division, the Hurricanes are making it easy on anyone who loves a good pun as they have blown through their opposition with four straight victories. Chicago’s two teams, the Catchers and Blasters, struggled to make a contest of it against Houston at the weekend, with the Hurricanes winning by 76 runs against the former and 50 runs versus the latter. That added to Saturday morning’s win for the Texan team over the Michigan Cricket Stars by four wickets.

While the Hurricanes batting has been solid, led by Willem Ludick’s 136 runs in four innings (check out this six!), it’s a deep bowling unit that’s really caused so much chaos for opposition batting line-ups, with Houston boasting three of the top eight wicket-takers in the Pacific Conference.

Houston Hurricanes Bowling Stats

Top of the trio there is Ashley Nurse, with the West Indian international star snagging 3 for 14 and hitting 23 off only 14 deliveries as the Hurricanes swept past the Blasters.

Will the Hurricanes keep up this torrid pace, or can the chasing pack reel them in?

Central Division Standings

Grizzled Competition

The standings in the Western Division are tougher to decipher, with a startlingly uneven number of matches played across the teams (the Blazers have played only two, Seattle five). The Golden State Grizzlies, though, are certainly setting the pace with three wins out of three. Impressively, both the Grizzlies’ victories at the weekend came comfortably, beating the Master Blasters by five wickets on Saturday and the Lashings by four wickets on Sunday.

Perhaps most disconcertingly for the rest of the West, it’s been deep contributions across both batting and bowling departments that’s given the Grizzlies’ their wins so far. The team’s captain and star player, Sami Aslam, hasn’t caught fire yet, with only 27 runs scored in three innings. If Sami lights it up – as we know he can! – the Grizzlies will be tough to catch – though it’s worth noting the East Bay Blazers also remain unbeaten after two games.

Western Division Standings

Six weeks from now, we suspect the standings above across all four divisions will look very different as teams and players adapt to the different conditions across the country and lineups chop and change. But for now, these are your Minor League Cricket Championship pace-setters, and we’ll see how that changes this weekend with another 27 matches scheduled for Aug. 14-15 – all live on YouTube!