Team USA beats Pakistan historic World Cup victory

Cricket may have finally gotten its moment in the U.S.

The U.S. men’s national cricket team delivered a stunning blow to heavyweight Pakistan in Texas on Thursday during a surprisingly close T20 World Cup match that went into the equivalent of extra innings.

The match in the group-stage round of the tournament, which the U.S. is co-hosting with the West Indies, was played in a former minor-league baseball park in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, one of three U.S. venues where the tournament is being held. 

Cricket fans around the world are calling the win one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. On NPR, “All Things Considered” co-host Juana Summers likened it to “the Boston Red Sox losing to the Durham Bulls,” a Minor League Baseball team in North Carolina.

But the historic win is not getting the same reception in the U.S, where cricket is still considered a very niche sport, played mostly among its Caribbean and South Asian diaspora.

“Beating Pakistan, and playing for the first time, the way we played today I’m really proud of the boys,” said USA captain Monank Patel, who was named player of the match.

“Of course, beating Pakistan in a World Cup is going to open many doors for us,” he said.

USA v Pakistan - ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024
A fan at Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas on Thursday.Matt Roberts / ICC via Getty Images

The win against Pakistan is all the more remarkable because the American players, who are on the team part time and have day jobs, were going up against a team that won the T20 World Cup in 2009 and came in second in 2007, the year the tournament began, and again in 2022.

Most of the U.S. players are of South Asian or Caribbean descent, and some of them previously played in India or the West Indies.

USA bowler Saurabh Netravalkar, an engineer at Oracle, is already achieving celebrity status in India, where he formerly played for its junior team.

“Proud of the team and our very own engineering and cricket star,” Oracle said in a post on X.

The U.S. win is good news for the International Cricket Council, which chose it as co-host of the tournament partly in hope that it would stir American interest in the sport. Co-hosting gave the U.S. team an automatic berth in the tournament, which it is participating in for the first time.

“Now that’s how to grow the game in the states,” Michael Vaughan, former captain of England’s cricket team, said in a post on X after Pakistan’s defeat.

For such a historic moment, few Americans actually saw it. The match was not broadcast on U.S. television, and the stadium holds only about 7,000 people.

“Credit to USA, they performed so well,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said after the match. “They were better than us in all aspects of the game.”

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