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Matrubhoomi or Karmabhoomi? Indian Americans’ Dilemma as USA Faced India in World Cup T-20

Matrubhoomi or Karmabhoomi? Indian Americans’ Dilemma as USA Faced India in World Cup T-20

  • In the end it was a win-win situation for fans as the host team put up a good fight against an experienced and powerful visiting team, and faced its first defeat in this tournament, losing by seven wickets.

Indian Americans were dealing with several questions this morning as USA faced India at the Eisenhower Park stadium in Nassau County in Long Island, New York. They were confused whether to support the matrubhoomi (motherland) or the karmabhoomi (adopted land).

The support for team India was evident by the sea of blue at the stadium, as most fans were seen wearing the Indian team jersey and waving the tricolor. At the same time, there were a large number of desis supporting the USA team, waving the American flag, and sporting red, white, and blue colors with stars and stripes. Many were seen with flags of both countries, while some had the flags drawn on their cheeks. 

Team USA put up a good fight but lost to India by seven wickets. India won the toss and chose to bowl first. USA set a target of 110 but, India chased down the total with 10 balls to spare.

Nitish Kumar was the star of the U.S. team — he made 27 runs from 23 balls. Saurabh Netravalkar shone as usual with the ball. He gave a mere 18 runs in four overs, taking the wickets of Virat Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma in his first two overs. But “his drop of Suryakumar Yadav was costly, though, as a wicket at that juncture would have vastly improved his side’s chances of causing the biggest shock in cricket history,” The New York Times noted. He “came back into the attack to bowl two more tight overs but, by that stage, India had taken full control,” The Times added.

As USA was dealt its first loss, Indian American cricket fans lauded the team for its great fight, and hailed superpower India for some amazing bowling and batting. Many took to social media to post photos and share their thoughts. Those at the stadium said they were moved by both the national anthems, describing it as a surreal moment.

According to cricket journalist, photographer, and broadcaster Peter Della Penna, the “official attendance for today’s game was 31,219. “Only India v Pakistan has had a bigger attendance for any match at this 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup,” he wrote in a post on X. The game drew a crowd of 34,028 to the stadium, news reports said. 

Several Indian Americans told American Kahani ahead of today’s game that they were torn between the two countries and which team to support — Indians on Aadhaar vs. Indians on Green Card/H1-B visa. A large portion of the people said they would support and cheer for India, while some pledged their allegiance to Team USA. Many, like New Jersey-based dentist Manasa Reddy, associate cricket with their growing-up years in India. “Grew up watching cricket in India and always supported India,” she said. “For me association of cricket equals India, so I will support the men in blue.” 

However, her co-sister is Team USA. “I remember going to Charminar [in Hyderabad], where my dad worked during an Indian-Pakistan match,” Preethi Dendi, a pulmonologist from New Jersey told American Kahani. She remembers vividly “how people were supporting Pakistan being Indian citizens,” she said, adding that the experience “left a mark.” But this is different, she notes. “We were born there [in India], but are citizens here,” she continues. “I am rooting for the underdogs.”

Some were confused. On his way to watch the match with his two U.S.-born daughters, a Facebook user shared his dilemma. While he was excited to share his love for cricket with his girls, he had a “bigger challenge” ahead. “How do we cheer,” he wondered. He has several options — “cheer both the citizen team and the OCI team and be happy with any outcome or cheer place of birth (OCI for me, citizen for girls), or cheer for the Blues, or cheer for the underdogs?” 

Despite the outcome, it is impossible to deny Team USA’s stellar performance so far. As Penna wrote on his social media — “Want a measure of the impact USA’s T20 WC performance has made on general/cricket media here in New York? 11 reporters just skipped India Player of the Match Arshdeep Singh’s press conference to spend 10 minutes interviewing USA bowler Saurabh Netravalkar in the mixed zone.”

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The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
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