🏏10 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup games will be shown at North Oculus Plaza in June

🏏The game is popular with New Jersey's South Asian community

🏏Cricket was the nation's pastime in the 1800s before baseball


The World Cup is coming to the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan in June.

It's not the soccer but the International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 which will be shown on a large screen at the North Oculus Plaza for free beginning Saturday with a match between the United States vs. Canada. The 10-game schedule at the plaza concludes with the tournament final on Saturday, June 29.

“Sports have a special way of uniting people from all walks of life and from all over the globe, especially a sport as popular on the world stage as cricket,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement. “We’re proud to host these viewings and give these diverse communities opportunities to come together to root for their favorite teams while enjoying everything that the World Trade Center and downtown Manhattan offer.”

Eight matches are being played at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, a newly constructed stadium inside Long Island's Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

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North Plaza at the World Trade Center
North Plaza at the World Trade Center (Port Authority of New York & New Jersey)

Cricket's popularity in New Jersey

Cricket is popular in the South Asian and Caribbean communities, which have sizable populations in New Jersey. According to the political group Indian American Impact, nearly 5% of New Jersey's population is South Asian, the most of any state.

While Edison, Plainsboro and South Brunswick have seen significant growth in South Asian population, the game of cricket has also grown in popularity in Robbinsville. The Robbinsville Premier League (RPL) has ten teams with over 200 players and is just a year old.

Dilip Kovuri, one of the league's founders, told TAP into Hamilton/Robbinsville the league formed to give people already playing in different leagues the chance to play in one league.

The champions of Major League Cricket, a league that began play in 2023, are the team MI New York (pronounced My New York). The team is playing in Texas until the team's home stadium is completed in Marine Park in Brooklyn.

Presentation of the RPL championship trophy in 2023
Presentation of the RPL championship trophy in 2023 (Dave Fried)

More popular than baseball

In the mid-19th century, cricket was regarded as something of a popular pastime in the United States.

Brought over by immigrants, it flourished in New York and Philadelphia. The first-ever international cricket match — between the United States and Canada — was played in the Big Apple in 1844, and touring teams from England crossed the Atlantic to play.

By the time of the Civil War in the 1860s, baseball had become the dominant bat-and-ball game in the States and cricket was tailing off, becoming instead a sport that took a deeper hold in British colonies in Asia and the Caribbean.

(Includes material Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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