Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

Major League Cricket 2023  has begun in the US, and the inaugural match between the Texas Super Kings and the Los Angeles Knight Riders was won by the Super Kings. After the match, Super Kings skipper Faf Du Plessis signed autographs for the fans and then was sent off with a rendition of happy birthday from the crowd. The captain celebrated his 39th birthday on Thursday.

The skipper went out for a golden duck, but the Super Kings managed a good total of 181 /6 thanks to heroics by Devon Conway and David Miller who got 55 and 61 respectively. Mohammed Mohsin, Gerald Coetzee, and Rusty Theron had an impressive showing as the Knight Riders were held to a 112 total in 14 overs.

However, Du Plessis received heartfelt birthday wishes from the fans at the  Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas. After winning the MLC 2023 opener against LAKR, the former South African skipper signed shirts and enjoyed the birthday chants by the fans as the video has gone viral on social media.

Watch the video here:

MLC hopes to popularise cricket in the United States

The event marks the first foray of T20 cricket into America in a big way, seeking to grow the sport’s popularity in the country and recreate what has been done in India with the IPL. The IPL is one of the biggest sporting leagues in the world, valued at around 4 billion dollars. The introduction of ML Cricket in the United States seeks to create a new market for the accessible T20 version of the sport in North America - the world’s largest sports market as well as its most sophisticated.

American sports are worth billions of dollars, and their domestic leagues have some of the highest-paid players in the world. Despite viewership of most American sports being lower than European football, the revenues and salaries are orders of magnitude higher. This is the thought process behind MLC, which will seek to integrate a sport with more than a billion fans worldwide into the world’s most lucrative sporting market.  MLC continues from Friday, with the MI New York facing off against the LA Knight Riders.