New York fans head to India v Pakistan T20 World Cup match amid rain

Anticipation builds ahead of latest match in cricket's biggest rivalry

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Rain threatened to play spoilsport as thousands of fans in the New York metro area travelled to the highly-anticipated T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan on Sunday.

It was a carnival atmosphere as fans loaded on to commuter rail trains and buses donned with team gear. People gave away free flags and armbands at the bus station, while others cheered to raise excitement at the early morning hour.

Others who drove into the area crowded on to sidewalks in the direction of the purpose-built Nassau County stadium.

That last thing fans needed was weather to disrupt plans. Unfortunately, that is what happened on Sunday as a light shower - which briefly turned into heavy rainfall - swept through the stadium just an hour before the match. As a result, the toss had to be delayed.

The Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, a newly-built stadium nestled in Eisenhower Park of Long Island, has hosted four matches so far. But ahead of Sunday's big match, criticism grew over the quality of the pitches at the new stadium, which is only a few months old. The surfaces have proven to be extraordinarily challenging for batsmen, leading to very low scores.

"T20 Inc and the ICC recognise that the pitches used so far at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium have not played as consistently as we would have all wanted," the ICC said in a statement.

"The world-class grounds team have been working hard since the conclusion of yesterday's game to remedy the situation and deliver the best possible surfaces for the remaining matches."

But no matter what happens, fans at the stadium will get to witness a high-profile match and also some parts of the famous Manhattan city skyline from afar.

India v Pakistan is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport, beyond just regional and geopolitical tensions at home. But in T20 World Cups, it is a different story - India hold a 6-1 record against their arch rivals in the tournament.

Security was increased in the region as a precaution ahead of the tournament.

There are hopes that the US hosting World Cup matches for the first time – with games held in Florida and Dallas as well – will attract a fresh American audience to the sport. Cricket is also part of the roster for the 2028 LA Olympics.

Updated: June 09, 2024, 2:41 PM