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USA vs IND, T20 World Cup 2024: United States cricketing exiles face off against powerhouse India in high-stakes clash

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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 here on Wednesday.

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.

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.

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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.

Saurabh Netravalkar of USA celebrates with teammate Harmeet Singh after USA defeated Pakistan in the Super Over.

Saurabh Netravalkar of USA celebrates with teammate Harmeet Singh after USA defeated Pakistan in the Super Over.
| Photo Credit:
Getty Images

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Saurabh Netravalkar of USA celebrates with teammate Harmeet Singh after USA defeated Pakistan in the Super Over.
| Photo Credit:
Getty Images

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 Wednesday would love to see a Kohli or Suryakumar masterclass. A fighting effort from the underdog host will receive equal applause.

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