USA Vs BAN T20I Series: United States Cricket Ready For The World Stage, And How!

By clinching an unprecedented 2-0 series win against cricketing heavyweights Bangladesh, the United States of America have warmed up in right earnest for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, where they will play hosts alongside West Indies

USA Cricket
USA beat Bangladesh by six runs in the second T20I to take an unassailable lead in the three-match series. Photo: USA Cricket

Bangladesh, a proud cricketing country, is in shock. Days before the start of the ICC T20 World Cup, the country's national cricket team suffered a humiliating series defeat against a line-up primarily made up of South Asian expats. (Full IPL Coverage | More Cricket News)

First by five wickets, then by six runs. Two losses in two games, and a third meltdown can't be dismissed considering how the often untamable Tigers were ambushed in some Texan prairie. So the story invariably becomes about the victors, the United States of America (USA).

More so, since it's a World Cup year. But the victors, the USA are still an Associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Meaning, the teams representing this sporting powerhouse have no real standing in world cricket.

Also, unlike the Bangladeshis, the Americans have very little to do with cricket, probably, except for playing their part in the first-ever international game (against neighbours Canada in 1844).

Cricket has since become a sub-continental obsession while Americans indulge in baseball and Olympic sports. Soccer -- football in global parlance -- has also found a foothold there. The women's soccer teams representing the United States are unrivalled. Conversely, cricket remains on the periphery here.

Then there is also the waning interest in cricket in the neighbouring Caribbean.

The island nations in the Caribbean Sea, collectively as the West Indies, were a force to reckon with in cricket. Now, talents from the Caribbean are happy being mercenaries for hire, freelancing in franchise leagues around the world.

This fall, many blame on its inherent complexity: the Windies, after all, are a team of different sovereign establishments. It's indeed a miracle that such a team continues to exist in these times marked by secessionism and regionalism. That's a topic for another day, though.

Meanwhile, the ICC, by naming the Windies and the United States as co-hosts of the 2024 T20 World Cup, is hoping to pull off a cricketing miracle, at least from a marketing outlook.

With its income-generating avenue confined, and largely relying on the Indian sub-continent, cricket's global body needed a new market. By merging two disparate cricketing geographies into a single entity -- one with a rich history and another with new vistas -- the ICC, in all likelihood, has found its newest frontier to exploit.

And this move, a belated one nonetheless, is being appreciated by all the stakeholders. The massive 'cricketing diaspora' in the USA, having already witnessed one unfulfilled 'Cricket All-Stars' dream (involving Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne and other legends), has wholeheartedly welcomed the World Cup.

The city of New York and its purpose-built Nassau Stadium will be the venue of a blockbuster India vs Pakistan clash. Elsewhere in Dallas and Florida, some of the biggest names in contemporary cricket will showcase their talent. All these will help the Americans warm up to the idea of cricket.

"So far, cricket is predominantly an expats' game, but with the marketing and promotion activities during the World Cup, there is some momentum and the World Cup will definitely boost the opportunities to expand the game in the USA," said USA Cricket chairman Venu Pisike.

"Definitely, the World Cup is bringing a lot of awareness and then the opportunity for cricket to be in the Olympics, that will definitely attract the community because the US is a huge sports country."

It's a fact that the USA remains the biggest sporting market where the 'Major' leagues rule the roost, and cricket too can have its share of the pie. The Major League Cricket is already there, of course. This new adventure, however brave, still needs one legitimating act. And what better way to do it than by winning matches?

The Monank Patel-led USA will enter the home World Cup, a 20-team affair, as the 19th-ranked team. But days before the start of their tournament opener against Canada in Texas, the USA proved that they "are no walkovers" by registering a historic series win against a Full Member team. They beat Bangladesh -- one of the most dangerous sides in the world -- twice in a space of three days to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.

Following their five-wicket win in the first match at Houston's Prairie View Cricket Complex, Harmeet Singh declared that they are ready to take on the big teams. A bowling all-rounder, Singh hit the winning runs as the USA chased a 154-run target down with three balls to spare.

"You don't always get an opportunity to win a game against a big side like this every day," Harmeet, who won the Under-19 World Cup as an Indian player in 2012, said. "The way the boys have been training, it is a personal effort from everybody. It means a lot to us to put on a show against Bangladesh. We are no walkovers. I think our potential is immense. We have a lot of match-winners in the team."

Ali Khan, the Player of the Match in the second game, dismissed any insinuation suggesting the series win is a fluke. Following his 3/25, the pacer from Attock in Pakistan said that they are there "to put the USA on the world cricket map." It's a common dream that helps build American cricket teams.


"We [USA] are hungry, and are going to try to eat whoever comes in our way," Khan said. "This is a time where we can make some changes and adjust. The team looks balanced, and all the guys are hungry. I am sure the USA will do some upset [in the T20 World Cup]."

The USA are in Group A along with Canada, India, Ireland and Pakistan. The two top teams will progress to the Super 8s.

"We need to put the USA out there on the world cricket map. Sometimes when you win against a big side, they say oh it is a fluke. But beating them twice, back-to-back, and winning the series is not a fluke. We have the talent, skills and the ability if given the opportunities," the 33-year-old added.


India and Pakistan are the perennial favourites, while Ireland are known for punching above their weight -- and all three are sure to give the USA a reality check. But an opening day win against Canada can set the tone for an American revolution -- this one also fuelled by expats.

In South Asia, from where the majority of USA players are hailed, American cricket is getting extra airtime at the expense of Bangladesh. The Tigers, by the way, aren't always gracious losers. The next meeting could be explosive. The Americans would do well to prepare.