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Is cricket going home in 2024?

The 2024 T20 World Cup will hosted in the United States (US) and the West Indies. As many as 41 games will be staged in the Caribbean while 14 will take place in the US, including the World Cup opening match, America vs. Canada. 

It is a coming together that might not evoke any reaction in fans who instead scan the fixture list for games with greater significance. That would, however, be an unfortunate – if not understandable oversight as the US vs. Canada marked the birth of international cricket. This game means something

Made in Manhattan

At this stage, you might have raised your hand to point out that Australia vs. England in 1877 was, in fact, the first international match. That, alas, is a common misconception as the US and Canada went head-to-head 33 years before that in a game held at St George’s Cricket Club in New York on the 24th of September 1844. The clamour for tickets was similar to what we see for a World Cup final today.

Indeed, this fixture was incredibly well supported with an estimated 20,000 fans flocking down to the centre of Manhattan to see history being made. Even more extraordinary was the staggering amount of money received by bookmakers on the eventual outcome  — as much as £120,000, a figure that would equate to just over £4 million in today’s currency.

The only reason that more wagering is done on match days in the modern era is down to the introduction of online casino operators like LeoVegas and Betway offering games like Cricket Star Slots which can be played on several platforms when cricket fever grips fans. This, of course, wasn’t an option for those supporters 179 years ago.

The astonishing advances in technology aside, the wider point is the sheer scale of betting on this historic occasion took everyone by surprise.

You can then, spare a thought for anyone who put large amounts on a high-scoring contest as Canada would record the biggest total in the game – 82 runs. In the end, the Canadians would earn a 23-run victory after the US could only muster 64 and 58 in their two innings’. 

It’s worth saying that a famous victory might have been on the cards had the US’ number three batsman, George Wheatcroft not inexplicably gone missing during their fourth innings run chase. Wheatcroft eventually turned up half an hour after the last wicket had gone down but despite his desperate pleas, the Canadians refused to go back out to continue the game.

The result stood, the Canadians were the winners of the first-ever international match.

A rivalry as old as time 

Could history repeat itself in Texas in 2024? The Canadians will be hoping it does.

Again, the men from the Great White North will come into the fixture as the underdogs at a price of 2/1 while the US are the favourites to dish out revenge at odds of 2/5.  Whatever ends up happening in the Lone Star State between these two old foes, the truth is that cricket is going home in 2024.

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