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Major League Cricket explainer: How the USA’s first T20 league will operate

Here’s everything you need to know about Major League Cricket.

Trinbago Knight Riders v Saint Lucia Kings - Men’s 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League
Kieron Pollard of Trinbago Knight Riders plays an attacking shot during the Men’s 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League match between Trinbago Knight Riders and Saint Lucia Kings at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on September 18, 2022 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago.
Photo by Ashley Allen - CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images

Major League Cricket, the first T20 cricket competition in the United States, will begin Thursday, July 13 with the Texas Super Kings taking on the Los Angeles Knight Riders. Here’s everything you need to know about this competition.

Cricket in the United States? When did this happen?

This league has been in the works for quite some time, and will finally be taking place this summer. It is backed by the founders of Willow TV, the primary cricket broadcaster in North America, several prominent investors and the Times Group of India.

Does USA have a cricket team?

Interestingly enough, the first ever international cricket match on record was played in the United States between America and Canada. Now, this was back in the 1800s and Americans likely saw cricket as a British game and gravitated more towards baseball. That doesn’t mean the game isn’t prominent across the country at a grassroots level.

USA does have an international team, and just played in the ODI World Cup qualifiers. They didn’t win a single match, but they will be more prominently featured in the 2024 T20 World Cup as a co-host with the West Indies.

How many teams are in Major League Cricket?

There are six teams in MLC this season. They are the Super Kings, Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians New York, Washington Freedom, Seattle Orcas and San Francisco Unicorns. If some of those names sound familiar, it’s because four of the six teams are owned by IPL franchise owners. Three of them have adopted the IPL team name in Texas, LA and New York.

How many games will be played this season?

There will be just 19 games in the tournament, which will run over two weeks. 15 games will be in the group stage. There will be an eliminator, two qualifiers and a final similar to the IPL playoffs.

Who are some of the prominent players in MLC?

There won’t be any big-name Indian players due to BCCI regulations and the team currently being on tour, but MLC did a great job bagging other big names. Kieron Pollard, Faf du Plessis, Jason Roy, Rashid Khan, Trent Boult, Aaron Finch and Quinton de Kock have all been prominent on the international cricket scene. Many of the fans attending these games will know those players.

Where are MLC games being played?

There are two venues for MLC games this season. Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas is the main venue and has the first eight group games, while Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina will have the next seven group games. The playoffs return to Grand Prairie Stadium. This is surely a trial run for the expansion of venues across the country, especially since there’s no North Carolina-based team.

Will MLC games be available on TV and livestream?

All games will be broadcasted on Willow TV and available through willow.tv with a subscription login.

Who is favored to win?

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Mumbai Indians New York are the slight favorites at +380, followed by the Freedom and Orcas at +400 each. The Super Kings, Knight Riders and Unicorns are all listed at +450.