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How the USA’s shock cricket triumph reflects a global sporting and geopolitical transformation


Call it the Miracle on Grass.

A national cricket team that most Americans didn’t even know they had beat one of the sport’s global powers Pakistan, for whom the game is a national obsession.

The triumph Thursday in the T20 World Cup – a global tournament using a shortened, three-hour version of a game that can last five days and still end in a draw – shocked the cricketing world.

Cricket briefly flickered into US consciousness as the result popped up on news sites in a rare moment for a sport that lives in obscurity in the United States outside the South Asian and Caribbean communities.

“Beating Pakistan in the World Cup is going to open many doors for us,” said USA Cricket captain Monank Patel in Texas, where the game took place in a converted minor league baseball park.

Corey Anderson, who represented New Zealand internationally and now plays for the US team, told CNN he got hundreds of text messages after the win.

“It’s probably shocked the cricketing world,” said the 33-year-old who has an American wife and kids. “I know definitely here in the US it’s been a lot of media coverage, which is fantastic. I think USA Cricket is just not that well known within America, and I think we put ourselves a little bit more on the map.”

Cricket faces huge barriers to becoming anything more than a curiosity to most Americans. But the US victory over Pakistan is exactly what global cricket chiefs hoped for when bringing some of this year’s T20 World Cup to the United States, which is co-hosting along with islands in the Caribbean, a more traditional hotbed of the game that has faced challenges from the encroachment of US sports.

In the biggest game ever on US soil, more than 30,000 fans will Sunday pack into towering