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    USA's first game in the T20 World Cup
USA's first game in the T20 World Cup
A crowd of around 5,000 people. Source: theguardian.com

USA's first game in the T20 World Cup

On Saturday night, the USA defeated Canada by seven wickets in the opening T20 World Cup match at the small field in Grand Prairie, Texas, marking the beginning of the great American cricket experiment. And it was one of the game's greatest moments in its tiny way.

A little over 5,000 people watched USA's Aaron Jones, a pocket rocket hitter who was raised in Barbados and born in Queens, play a masterfully freewheeling innings. In an unbeaten innings of 94 off just 40 balls, Jones hammered ten sixes, including one straight out of the ground.

It was a success to have the match on at all. Last Tuesday, a little tornado tore through this area. It tore out a section of the massive metal railings surrounding the floor and removed one of the enormous screens. Since then, there have been flash floods and four days of nonstop rain, leaving many of the nearby villages without electricity.

Since then, the small staff has been working nonstop, and temporary generators are powering the entire property. Ultimately, the only significant issue was that a few more tickets could have been moved. There were a few too many empty seats because of the exorbitant prices.

Those who did go were treated to a true delight. The USA were strong favourites because they had just won two series, one against Bangladesh 2-1 and another against Canada 4-0, but their bowlers appeared to be a little nervous on opening night. Canada was put to bat and scored 40 runs in the first four overs. Aaron Johnson, their opener, hit Muhammad Ali Khan's opening ball for four runs. In Khan's second over, he added three more runs in four balls and four more in byes off a bouncer that smashed off his helmet.

Navneet Dhaliwal, Johnson's opening partner, continued despite being caught at long off. He crushed Harmeet Singh, a former India under-19 player, in the first six of the competition.

The stadium announcer had a southern drawl, there were more ¬Stetsons in the crowd, and if you looked closely, you could spot a few clues appropriate for the event scattered throughout the area, such as the scoreboard with the words "balls" and "strikes" hanging from the balcony and the signage with translations into Spanish that said "Este Alerta! "Take care of the horses!" But mostly, it will just be remembered as a fantastic T20 cricket match, made possible by Jones's outstanding batting.

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