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T20 World Cup: High Octane Indo-Pak Clash Today In New York

| Updated: June 9, 2024 10:39

India’s men’s cricket team will face chief rival Pakistan in a group-stage game at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Long Island, New York, on Sunday, which is expected to be one of the most-watched sporting events of the year.

The marquee clash, and all games in the ongoing tournament, are being played in the “Twenty20” (T20) format—which is both the youngest and shortest version of international cricket and matches usually lasting around three-and-a-half hours long.

The game will take place in a pop-up stadium inside Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park, although the temporary pitch has faced controversy for its “dangerous” unpredictable bounce, which caused an injury scare for Indian captain Rohit Sharma during his side’s first game against Ireland.

The International Cricket Council has since issued a statement saying its “world-class grounds team” is working to remedy the pitch before Sunday’s mega clash.

India has a 6-1 win-loss record against Pakistan in T20 World Cups, including a famous win in the inaugural edition’s final in 2007 in South Africa.

India’s sole loss against Pakistan came in the pandemic-delayed 2021 edition of the tournament, which was also Pakistan’s first-ever World Cup win against their arch-rivals in any format of cricket.

$52,000 is the resale price (including fees) on SeatGeek for the most expensive ticket for Sunday’s game. Tickets for India versus Pakistan games at World Cups are always heavily sought after, but the steep pricing for the match in New York has been criticised by cricket fans and even former administrators.

The ICC priced the game’s tickets between $300 and $10,000, but even the cheapest tickets on the resale market start at around $830. The expensive tickets coupled with pricey parking have led to fears of there being empty seats at the most hyped cricket game of the year. Some fans on social media have even pointed out that group-stage game tickets are more expensive than NBA Finals tickets.

India-Pakistan matches can often be highly charged political spectacles. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are taking precautions to prevent a lone-wolf attack carried out by affiliates of ISIS-K—the Islamic State terror group’s South Asian arm.

The elevated security stance, however, has drawn complaints from fans. South African cricket journalist Neil Manthorp said his experience of entering the stadium for an earlier game was “intimidating as hell…it’s like a warzone, there are combat troops with military assault rifles.”

India and Pakistan are placed in Group A with three other teams: USA, Canada and Ireland. The top two teams will qualify for the next round—the Super 8s. With this being the US’ and Canada’s first T20 World Cup and Ireland being a lower-ranked side, India and Pakistan were expected to cruise through to the Super 8s, with the result of Sunday’s game purely for bragging rights. But Pakistan’s shock defeat to the US team in Dallas on Thursday has raised the stakes for Sunday’s match as another loss could put Pakistan on the brink of a first-round elimination.

Nearly 400 million viewers in India—173 million on TV and 225 million viewers on Disney’s Hostar streaming platform—watched the last game between the two sides in October last year at the 50-over World Cup.

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