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ICC T20 World Cup 2024: India Play Pakistan On June 9 in New York; 200 Million TV Viewers Expected

Sprint legend Usain Bolt is putting his faith in home team West Indies ahead of the T20 World Cup, as the eight-time Olympic champion reunites with his first love cricket when the tournament kicks off next month.

Co-hosts West Indies won their first test in Australia for 27 years in January and Bolt did not hesitate to throw them his support when asked to predict the winner of the T20.

“I’m always going to go with my home team,” Bolt said on Wednesday at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, where tournament officials offered a glimpse of the newly constructed, 34,000 seat stadium.

“Because we have some big hitters, if we get it right, then definitely West Indies (can win).”

The two-time winners are co-hosting the tournament with the United States and begin their group campaign against Papua New Guinea on June 2 in Guyana.

While the United States appears to some as an unlikely host for a world-class cricket competition, with the men’s “Big Four” leagues dominating the sport landscape, Bolt said American fans will be treated to an experience unlike any other.

“The energy that the cricket brings and the vibes and the noise, it’s just wonderful,” he said. “It’s something different that you’ll never see.”

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The world record holder in the 100 and 200 metres has shown before that he can wield both bat and ball and was ready to embrace the cricket spotlight again in New York, as he hopped into selfies with elated attendees.

The venue at Eisenhower Park will host eight matches beginning on June 3 with Sri Lanka facing South Africa.

“I finally get a chance to be a part of cricket again,” said Bolt. “I’m happy that I get the opportunity to be a part of (the tournament), to promote a sport that I love.”

The stadium built using modular technology will host eight matches between June 3 and 12. “We’re nearly seeing five sellouts across the eight games. We want to make sure that cricket in the US makes a real statement through this tournament, and we know that it’s one of our biggest markets in the world for cricket, said Brette Jones, CEO, T20 USA, Inc.

All eyes will be on June 9 when India take on archrivals Pakistan. Over 200 million people will watch on live television what’s expected to be a cracker of a contest.

With inputs from Reuters