Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Did cricket finally announce its arrival in the USA on D-Day? – Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports

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Cricket is gaining a remarkable surge in popularity across the nation. (PC: ICC)

The Monank Patel-led USA national team managed to beat a top international T20 side in Pakistan in an exciting Super Over, after the tw0 teams were tied at 159 runs each in the alloted 20 overs!

The victory was understandably celebrated beyond the South Asian community in the US, a five-million strong group which typically plays, follows and supports the sport in the land where baseball, basketball and American Football rule the charts.

While the result would be touted as a surprisingly huge upset, it was in the making as the US side has been consistently improving its performances in the run up to this tournament that they are co-hosting – they had won 8 of the 9 T20Is they had played in 2024, and over the last three years, they had beaten Ireland (2021) and Bangladesh (twice in 2024), both of whom enjoy ICC Full Member status.

This massive moment is comparable to the Kenyan side beating the West Indies in the 1996 ODI World Cup in Pune, or a burgeoning Irish side pulling off a heist against the English team in the 2011 ODI World Cup and once again in the T20 World Cup in 2022, where Namibia beat Sri Lanka too. The Afghans beating the mighty Caribbean side in the 2016 T20 World Cup, which ironically the men in maroon went on to win.

This could be a major boost for the game of cricket, to turn a corner in one of the largest sporting markets in the world. While the very first international cricket match was played between the USA and Canada in 1844, for various reasons, the colonial sport never managed to gain social or commercial interest in North America.

The ICC sanctioned a mini-IPL style, six-franchise-led Major League Cricket (MLC), allowing reputed international cricketers to participate. And while it’s only been one edition, the tournament didn’t really manage to spark enough interest across America.

The USA co-hosting the T20 World Cup for the first time is expected to be a catalytic event for the sport as it would put the best international sides on display, especially with arch rivals, India and Pakistan, facing each other on June 9 in New York.

Kudos to Monank, Saurabh Netravalkar, Aaron Jones, Nitish Kumar (what a week for people with this name!?), Nosthush Kenjige and their mates for bringing this tournament alive.

For cricket to become a mainstream sport in the US, we need a healthy mix of such entertaining, close games; acrobatic catches taken like the one taken by Steven Taylor and unconventional match-finishing sixes hit with utter disdain by Rishabh Pant.

International cricket is back where it began, and let’s hope the ongoing T20 World Cup delivers what the 1994 World Cup did for football (soccer) in North America.

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