The second edition of the United States’ franchise tournament, Major League Cricket (MLC), will see six franchises compete for the trophy over the course of 25 matches - here are six candidates who stand a good chance of ending up as the leading wicket-taker of MLC 2024.

The tournament will see plenty of local and international stars turning out for each team. Each of the six franchises boast staggering bowling resources, and if the tournament offers up the slow pitches that were seen in the US leg of the recently concluded T20 World Cup, bowlers will be key in determining which franchise takes the gold on 28 July. 

Here’s a list of the bowlers who are most likely to top the wicket-taking charts in MLC 2024. 

Also Read: MLC 2024 – all you need to know, from squads to timings

Anrich Nortje – MI New York

The South African speedster had a torrid time in the IPL. He conceded 294 runs in 6 games, at an economy rate of 13.36, after recovering from a stress fracture that kept him out of the game for months. However, any doubts about his ability were swept away during the T20 World Cup, where Nortje finished the tournament with 15 wickets – joint second-highest with Jasprit Bumrah – and was instrumental in getting South Africa to their first-ever World Cup final. 

Nortje was especially dangerous during the US leg of the World Cup, in which he took 8 wickets in 3 matches, at under 6 runs a piece. With the MLC likely to offer similar pitches and Nortje back to his brilliant best, he will almost certainly be one of the biggest threats for batters, especially as part of a team that also includes Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult, and Rashid Khan. 

Adam Zampa – Los Angeles Knight Riders

Already one of the most successful white ball spinners in Australian cricketing history, Adam Zampa is only improving with each game he plays. He is the only Australian men's player to have taken over 100 T20I wickets and was his country's leading wicket-taker at the 2024 T20 World Cup. 

For Los Angeles Knight Riders, he will lead the spin bowling attack, supported by captain Sunil Narine, and his side will bank on his ability to consistently take middle-overs wickets. If the Knight Riders are to have a good season and make the qualifiers, Zampa will need to deliver, and with his impressive recent form, there's a good chance that he will.

Pat Cummins – San Fransisco Unicorns

What stands as arguably MLC's biggest signing so far, San Fransisco Unicorns have roped in the Australian captain Pat Cummins on a four-year deal that will certainly bring more eyeballs to the league. Cummins led Australia to World Cup success in India last year, led his IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad to the final this year and had a successful T20 World Cup campaign with the ball – taking 9 wickets at an average of 16 – even if his side could not make it to the semi-finals. 

Leading the pack for the Unicorns, who have assembled a batting-heavy squad that includes the likes of Jake Fraser-McGurk, Finn Allen and Matthew Short in the top order, head-coach Shane Watson will expect Cummins to take the lion's share of the wickets for his team.

Saurabh Netravalkar – Washington Freedom

A name few had heard of before his heroics for the United States at the World Cup, Saurabh Netravalkar, who balances his cricket alongside a tech job, has already gone into American cricketing folklore. Netravalkar was indispensable in the US' historic victory against Pakistan, where he dismissed Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed before defending 19 in the super over. In his next game, he was even more impressive, dismissing both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in his first 8 deliveries to give India a scare in their modest chase of 111

With each team required to field a minimum of five local players, Netravalkar is certain to play every game, and will be crucial if Washington Freedom are to compete for the trophy. It wouldn't be a surprise if he ends the tournament ahead of the likes of Cummins and Nortje as MLC 2024's leading wicket-taker. 

Naveen-ul-Haq – Texas Super Kings

The 24-year-old Afghan pacer gets extravagant movement off the pitch and in the air in helpful conditions and can be destructive with the new ball when on song. His exceptional wicket-taking abilities were on full display in Afghanistan's Super Eight fixtures against Australia and Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup last month. He took 7 wickets in those games – one of them being a snorter to dismiss Travis Head – to take Afghanistan to their first-ever World Cup semi-final. 

What's more, Naveen is one of Texas Super Kings' only two overseas pacers – Matheesha Pathirana being the other – and his four overs will be crucial for the Super Kings in each of their group stage games if they are to qualify for the playoffs. 

Obed McCoy – Seattle Orcas

The 27-year-old left-arm pacer from the Windward Islands has a career strike rate of 15.4 in T20 cricket, which falls to an impressive 14.5 in T20 internationals. Although he went wicketless in two of the three games he featured in during the West Indies' T20 World Cup campaign, he took three against Afghanistan and was excellent in the West Indies' three-match T20I series against South Africa before the World Cup. 

With the Orcas being a batting-heavy side, their focus will be on out-smashing the opposition in most games. However, they will still depend on McCoy to utlisise his left arm angle and effective slower deliveries to break partnerships. If he does so, he will be on course to take plenty of wickets.

MI New York are the favourites to win MLC 2024 with odds of 2.85. Place this bet with Stake.

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