Rohit & Co look to get past confident USA to confirm SuperEight berth

On Wednesday, the USA team will have another opportunity in their hands to script history when they take on the No.1 ranked T20 side – India, at the Nassau County International Stadium.

Rohit & Co look to get past confident USA to confirm SuperEight berth

Photo: ANI

On paper, the India-USA match could be best described by the proverbial contest between David vs. Goliath, and more suitably a case of India vs Mini India. But in reality, the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 co-hosts have shown that they are no pushovers, especially after opening their campaign with two wins, including a memorable SuperOver upset over heavyweights Pakistan.

On Wednesday, the USA team will have another opportunity in their hands to script history when they take on the No.1 ranked T20 side – India, at the Nassau County International Stadium. Easier said than done, the Indian team has been the most clinical side out of all teams that has so far played in New York, and thus it promises an exciting clash between the top-two sides of Group A.

Pumped up after recording a stunning come-from-behind victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in Sunday’s low-scoring thriller, India will be looking to get into beast mode in their first ever meeting against USA, as a win will ensure either side’s smooth sailing into the Super Eight stage.


The USA national cricket team was formed in 1965, but this is the first time they qualified for an ICC World Cup tournament as co-hosts of the tournament along with the West Indies. But the American squad has shown cricket fans that they belonged to the top level after beating the 2022 T20 World Cup finalists in a nail-biting thriller that was decided by a SuperOver. The Monank Patel-led outfit earlier began their campaign with a brilliant comeback victory over longtime rivals Canada on June 1.

Their dreams of donning the India blues might have remained unfulfilled but a sprightly bunch of Indian Americans like Monank, Saurabh Netravalkar, Jessy Singh, Noshtush Kenjige and Harmeet Singh will be eager to grab the opportunity to be heroes in their adopted country.

The USA side, with an eclectic mix of eight Indians, two Pakistanis, a West Indian, one New Zealander, a South African and a Dutch, might have done their homework on the strengths and the skills of the Indian side, but they will be keen to ensure that the visitors can’t steamroll them.

Unlike their Indian counterparts, the USA players are yet to receive their share of fame even after the SuperOver win over Pakistan, but Wednesday could just be the day when the country of their choice takes note of their performance. It’s not everyday that one gets an opportunity to bowl at Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and face Jasprit Bumrah, no matter how the experience is. But it’s experience nevertheless and that too of a lifetime.

For India, it will be their last match in New York and the one where they wouldn’t mind batting first. India will then travel to Florida for their fourth Group A game against Canada on June 16.

The contest involves a few emotional sub-plots as well if Netravalkar gets a chance to bowl to his former Mumbai teammate Suryakumar Yadav with whom he played in Mumbai U-15, Ranji and Vijay Hazare Trophy. SKY has recently praised Netravalkar after his SuperOver heroics against the 2022 T20 World Cup finalists.

Yadav shared a story expressing his admiration for Netravalkar’s performance, captioning ‘Saurabh Netravalkar, tula maanla bhau (I respect you, brother). Very happy for you and your family back home.’
For USA, a lot will bank on the accuracy of the two left-arm spinners Harmeet and Kenjige as they face the challenge of trying to keep Rishabh Pant quiet. Their pace bowling star Ali Khan with his extra pace and the bounce that he generates from even benign surfaces would certainly provoke Rohit to use his pull shot frequently.

In batting, besides the inform pair of Monank and Aaron Jones, Nitish Kumar could be cheeky with his shot selection and prove to be a thorn in India’s flesh.

Will India retain misfiring Shivam Dube?

Shivam Dube was picked ahead of Rinku Singh, arguably India’s best finisher in recent times, based on his six-hitting abilities for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. But the burly Mumbai seam-bowling all-rounder has been far from impressive so far, and the dropped catch of Mohammed Rizwan only added to his woeful outings in the tournament so far.

But unlike in the IPL during which Dube was benched during CSK’s bowling, national skipper Rohit Sharma doesn’t have such luxury. In such a scenario, Dube could warm the bench to make way for Yashasvi Jaiswal’s return to the Playing XI. The return of Jaiswal, who is a way more rounded batter than the big-bodied Mumbaikar, could also help India with a sound start that has been missed in the first two games with Kohli partnering Rohit at the top.

Besides that, the two wrist spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, could also be given some game time or else they might just enter the Super Eights a bit undercooked in the Caribbean where the pitches will be more spin-friendly.