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T20 World Cup 2024: Debutants USA script history, enter Super 8s; meme fest explodes as Pakistan knocked out

Comprised partly of men who play cricket alongside their primary jobs, the USA team successfully advanced past the group stage of the T20 World Cup 2024 on their first attempt.

T20 World Cup 2024: First-timers USA qualify for Super 8s, meme fest explodes as Pakistan knocked out snt
First Published Jun 14, 2024, 11:29 PM IST

Comprised partly of men who play cricket alongside their primary jobs, the USA team successfully advanced past the group stage of the T20 World Cup 2024 on their first attempt. This came after their match against Ireland in Lauderhill, Florida, was called off on Friday, resulting in the elimination of former champions Pakistan from the tournament.

With victories over neighbors Canada and cricket heavyweights Pakistan in their initial matches, the USA secured a spot in the Super Eight stage of the T20 tournament, joining India. Their final group match being washed out further helped their cause, as it confirmed their advancement.

Pakistan, who won the T20 World Cup in 2009, were knocked out as a result of the washout, while the USA continued to promote cricket in the country by progressing to the next stage. The USA concluded the group stage with five points from four games, while Pakistan, even with a potential win against Ireland, could only reach a maximum of four points.

In earlier matches, Pakistan narrowly lost to India in New York, failing to chase a target of 120. In their opening game in Dallas, they suffered a surprising Super Over defeat to the USA.

Back-to-back defeats meant that Pakistan's chances of advancing to the Super Eight were no longer in their control. Once again, in a global tournament, the unpredictable Pakistanis found themselves leaving it too late.

As part of the ICC's ambitious plan to promote cricket in the region, the US is co-hosting the tournament with the West Indies. If the USA's performance so far is any indication, the home team is making a sincere effort to get NFL, MLB, and NBA-loving Americans to consider watching cricket in the near future.

The USA began the tournament with a convincing win over Canada, chasing nearly 200 runs. They then shocked Pakistan in one of the T20 World Cup's greatest upsets and gave formidable title contenders India a tough fight. The team's resurgence in the sport began with a morale-boosting T20I series victory over Bangladesh just before the World Cup.

The US team includes eight cricketers of Indian descent, most of them on temporary H1-B visas, which allow companies to hire overseas employees. These players are helping to revive the sport 180 years after the country hosted the first-ever international cricket match between the USA and Canada at St. George's Cricket Club in New York in 1844, 33 years before England and Australia played their first Test match.

The chances of Friday's match taking place were always slim, as Lauderhill, Florida, was hit by a tropical thunderstorm, leading to incessant rain and flash flooding. However, even if the match had occurred, the USA, buoyed by two big wins and their spirited effort against India, would have backed themselves to overcome Ireland and progress to the Super Eights.

As a result, the USA also qualified for the 2026 T20 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by India and Sri Lanka. The top eight teams from this tournament, along with the two hosts and the top two ranked teams outside of these on the day of the T20 World Cup final, will directly qualify for the next T20 showpiece.

However, there is a threat that the entire Florida leg of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held at Central Broward Park, might be washed out due to adverse weather conditions. This has led local authorities to issue a state of emergency.

Just two days ago, the match between Nepal and Sri Lanka at the same venue was washed out before the toss could take place.

While USA's qualification dashed Pakistan's hopes, the Pakistani team can only blame themselves for losing their first two fixtures against the Americans and their arch-rivals India in New York.

Led by Babar Azam, Pakistan needed to win their remaining two games convincingly. They did manage to defeat Canada by seven wickets, but their final match against Ireland in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, has now become inconsequential.

This tournament also marked a disappointing start for South African Gary Kirsten as Pakistan's coach. Kirsten, who coached India to their 2011 ODI World Cup triumph, took over the reins of Pakistan just before the T20 World Cup. He now faces tough decisions as Pakistan's cricket team reaches a new low in its rich history.

Meanwhile, a meme fest exploded on X, formerly Twitter, following Pakistan's elimination from the showpiece event:

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