Wednesday, June 19, 2024

As Team USA advances, South Florida gears up for the Cricket World Cup

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A 30-foot tall cricket bat in Lauderhill has signaled the arrival of the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup.

The newly unveiled statue sits across the street from Broward County Stadium, where teams from around the world will compete in a series of U.S.-based cricket matches — starting on Tuesday.

Leslie Johnson, the city’s Director of Public Relations and Cultural Arts, beamed as she described it. She said local artists and fabricators were commissioned to recreate the bat’s flat wooden blade and cane handle.

READ MORE: Cricket World Cup comes to New York, Dallas – and Lauderhill

“We’ve also wrapped the Sunrise overpass and we’ve adorned all the street banners in all of Lauderhill, so people know that they are in the cricket capital of the United States,” Johnson said.

The city earned that title back in the early 2000s, by embracing the game popular with its Caribbean and South Asian Population. Later, in 2010, the Broward County Stadium was awarded International Cricket Council (ICC) accreditation — the first in North America.

“Imagine if your parents and your grandparents came from someplace where you’re still learning about your customs and cultures — you get to bring all that from your history right here to America.” 

Lisa J. Huriash

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South Florida Sun Sentinel

A view of the field on a wet morning at Broward County Stadium.

Lauderhill joins the U.S. cities of Dallas and New York, in hosting matches in which players will play according to the popular Twenty20 rules — a shortened version of cricket.

And not only is the United States playing in the Cricket World Cup for the first time — Team USA made further history last week when it beat heavyweight Pakistan in a Super Over, which is a tie-breaking method in cricket.

“Playing against Pakistan for the first time in the World Cup and beating them, it was an unbelievable performance,” U.S. captain Monank Patel said. “…beating Pakistan, you know, it’s a big achievement.”

“We’re not worried about what people are saying. We know what we are worth and what capability we have, and we just focus on, the particular game,” he said. “We don’t want to keep our emotions too high or low.

After 20 years of waiting, the city of Lauderhill gets its chance to shine on the world stage.

“It’s like you’re almost queasy, like after a ride on a roller coaster, you’re really happy, but you’re a little sick, but it’s all good feelings,” Johnson said.

The city will hope to capitalize on the attention from the World Cup. Broward County announced an $8.4 million renovation to update stadium infrastructure ahead of the games.

The T20 Cricket World Cup matchups to be held in Lauderhill are as follows:

  • June 11 – Sri Lanka vs. Nepal
  • June 14 – USA vs Ireland
  • June 15 – Canada vs India
  • June 16- Pakistan vs Ireland

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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