2024 men’s T20 World Cup: Boasting over a billion fans across the world, cricket is set to enjoy ‘fiery vibes’ in New York

2024 men’s T20 World Cup: Boasting over a billion fans across the world, cricket is set to enjoy ‘fiery vibes’ in New York
  • PublishedJune 2, 2024

Cricket is the second most popular sport around the globe – it has over one billion fans – but one market it has failed to crack is the US.

That is despite cricket’s first ever international match having been played in Manhattan in 1884. And now, 180 years later, international cricket returns to the US with the men’s T20 World Cup.

Here’s all you need to know about the ninth edition of the tournament which is being staged in the US and across the Caribbean.

Burgeoning market

While cricket is certainly not one of the most popular sports in the US, it has slowly been making inroads over the last few years.

Notably, Major League Cricket (MLC) – a professional T20 league held in the US – began last year, with international stars from across the globe helping kickstart a new era for the sport in the country.

Three venues across the country – in Lauderhill, Florida, New York and Dallas – have been constructed to host T20 World Cup games.

Dallas and Lauderhill will stage four matches apiece, while the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York – which has a capacity of 34,000 – will host eight games, including one of the matches of the tournament when India face Pakistan on June 9.

The Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, Texas, will host the first game of the men's 2024 T20 World Cup.

The Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium in Dallas, Texas, will host the first game of the men’s 2024 T20 World Cup. Shelby Tauber/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The outfield at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium has been provided by the company who makes the turf at the home stadium of Inter Miami in Major League Soccer as well as both of New York’s Major League Baseball teams.

It wasn’t an easy task to prepare the ground though, with pitches traveling in 20 semi-trailer trucks from Florida for 20 hours over 2,000 kilometers through six different states to reach the ground.

The pitch’s square – the center of the field where bowlers and batters contest the game – has been overseen by the grounds people at the Adelaide Oval where Australia plays some of its international matches.

“New York sports fans are the best. They just understand energy. They know how to bring the fiery vibes to their team, they’re maniacal about their teams,” Victor Cruz – Super Bowl-winning wide receiver for the New York Giants – said ahead of the tournament.

“Well I think it’s just the overall intrigue (cricket in New York), right? They want to know what it’s about. They want to learn the rules. They want to see it in person.

“So I think being able to see it with their own eyes in action would change their perspective.”

On the big stage

The US team is led by 31-year-old wicket-keeper batter Monank Patel and includes former New Zealand international Corey Anderson.

The 33-year-old Anderson, who represented the Black Caps in the 2015 men’s Cricket World Cup final, is eligible to play for the team as his wife is American and it has been over four years since he last played for New Zealand.

Anderson once set the record for the fastest century in the history of one day international cricket, reaching 100 off just 36 balls in 2014.

The US bowling attack is led by fast bowler Ali Khan who has recovered from a hamstring injury in time to feature for his country.

Born in Pakistan, Khan moved to Ohio when he was a teenager and has featured in cricket leagues across the globe.

“I am so excited,” the 33-year-old Khan told the Guardian on the eve of the tournament. “I believe we are capable of taking any side down. We have four games in our first round and we’re looking forward to every one of them.”

Established

While cricket in the US is very much in its nascent stage, the same cannot be said about the sport in the Caribbean.

Cricket has long been established in the region, with some of its most famous players – Brian Lara, Viv Richards and Chris Gayle to name but a few – coming from the islands.

However, the West Indies team has fallen on hard times lately, even if the Caribbean still remains a hotbed for fandom of cricket.

Six venues across the Caribbean region will host 41 matches. The semifinals of the tournament will be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana before the final which will be played in Barbados on June 29.

The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, will host the men's T20 World Cup final.

The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, will host the men’s T20 World Cup final. Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images

Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines will also host games.

T20 cricket is one of the sport’s shortest formats, with both teams getting 20 overs apiece to bat as they seek the highest amount of runs. This version of cricket has become renowned for explosive action, big scores and dramatic finishes.

The tournament will incorporate a record number of teams, with 20 nations gathering to battle for the crown of the best international cricket side in this short format of the game.

Both North American teams will be making their first appearances in this edition, while Uganda are the other debutants.

“I’ve been playing for 27 years for the national team, to see this dream is making me so, so happy,” Uganda’s 43-year-old spinner Frank Nsubuga told Reuters.

Nsubuga bowls for Uganda in 2014.

Nsubuga bowls for Uganda in 2014. Joel Ford/ICC/Getty Images

“We want to leave a legacy … we want to leave something the world can see.”

The teams are split into four groups of five, with the top two teams progressing to the next stage and the bottom three being eliminated.

The remaining eight teams are split into two more groups, playing three further games against the sides in their group, with the top two countries in these new groups advancing to the semifinals.

How to watch

The 2024 men’s T20 World Cup begins on Saturday, June 1, with the two North American debutants – the US and Canada – opening proceedings against one another.

The two team will raise the curtain on the tournament from Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium, Dallas, with the first ball being bowled at 7.30 p.m. local time/6.30 p.m. ET/1.30 a.m. UK time on Sunday June 2.

The West Indies will begin its campaign in Guyana against Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

Fans in the US and Canada can watch via WillowTV. The action will be shown on Sky Sports in the UK Star Sports Network and Disney + Hotstar in India.

SOURCE: CNNNEWS

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