T20 World Cup: The American dream faces litmus test from The Men In Blue

USA players having Indian roots have a shot at redemption; the pace attack of the hosts could trouble their fancied opponents, their batters have to cope with Bumrah, Kohli and Rohit keen to find form

Updated - June 11, 2024 08:37 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2024 04:24 pm IST - New York

Indian players celebrate a wicket during the ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2024 match against Pakistan.

Indian players celebrate a wicket during the ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2024 match against Pakistan. | Photo Credit: ANI

When Harmeet Singh made his First Class debut for Mumbai, Rohit Sharma was his teammate. Saurabh Netravalkar took the field at the 2010 Under-19 Cricket World Cup alongside K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.

Nosthush Kenjige played with Ambati Rayudu for MI Emirates. Milind Kumar once shared the Royal Challengers Bangalore dressing room with Virat Kohli.

Harmeet, Netravalkar, Kenjige and Milind could not quite reach the highest echelons of Indian cricket, and moved to greener pastures in the USA. For this group, and a few more in the USA squad, a shot at redemption is here.

In what must feel like an unlikely dream, USA hosts India in a Group-A ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match in New York on June 12.

USA, primarily made up of players with roots in India, Pakistan and West Indies, is on a roll. The side started the campaign with a win over neighbour Canada, before shocking the world with a Super Over victory over Pakistan.

Dream run

From rank outsider, USA is now in with a real chance of reaching the Super 8. Belief will be high that another upset, this time against India, is not beyond reach.

Monank Patel, born in Anand (Gujarat), leads from the front. Monank laid the platform for USA in the Pakistan game with a classy 38-ball 50. Ali Khan, who moved to the USA from Pakistan nearly 15 years ago, is a pace threat alongside Netravalkar. Former New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson is a familiar name in the squad.

The American dream faces a severe test against India. The standout side in this tournament, India has skipped over all potential potholes. Rohit Sharma’s men have passed the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium pitch test twice. Batting first or second has made no difference to the outcome. The USA batters will need to raise their game several notches to tackle the phenomenal Jasprit Bumrah. Hardik Pandya has come on well as a wicket-taking option with his steady seamers.

Stacked with all-rounders, Rohit Sharma has bowling options galore. On the batting front, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel and Rohit have found form. The team management is keen to keep the batting order flexible.

This led to Axar Patel being promoted to four against Pakistan - a move that bore fruit.

India will hope that Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav get going. Kohli has been unable to crack the code on this challenging surface, falling for 1 and 4. Suryakumar’s penchant for big shots has not worked here, as he too has returned single-digit scores.

The crowd on June 12 would love to see a Kohli or Suryakumar masterclass. A fighting effort from the underdog host will receive equal applause.


India: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Siraj.

United States: Monank Patel (c), Aaron Jones, Andries Gous, Corey Anderson, Ali Khan, Harmeet Singh, Jessy Singh, Milind Kumar, Nisarg Patel, Nitish Kumar, Noshtush Kenjige, Saurabh Nethralvakar, Shadley Van Schalkwyk, Steven Taylor, Shayan Jahangir.

Match Starts: 8pm IST.

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