USA falls to India in T20 Cricket World Cup after landmark win over Pakistan, but moves 1 step closer to history

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Saurabh Nethralvakar of the USA celebrates after dismissing Virat Kohli of India during the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 match between USA and India at  Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on June 12, 2024 in New York, New York. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
The U.S. cricket team lost to India at the T20 Cricket World Cup on Wednesday, but their dream of advancing is still alive. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Team USA lost to India on Wednesday in the T20 Cricket World Cup, five days after claiming the biggest win in program history against Pakistan.

The match started pretty abysmally for Team USA, which had two wickets in just the first over. That's very nearly a catastrophe, and pretty much guaranteed that the U.S. would lose the match. But continuing to play hard was vital to maintaining their net run rate, which is how tiebreaks are decided in group play. Though they wouldn't win, Team USA needed to keep scoring runs (and later play good defense) just in case they tied.

The U.S. did rebound a bit, managing to score 110 runs (a figure that seemed nearly impossible after the first disastrous over), but it wasn't nearly enough to give India a serious challenge.

With this win, India has clinched first place in the group and qualified for the Super 8 stage. Team USA and Pakistan are now fighting for the final qualification spot, and it could get messy. USA must win Friday's match against Ireland in order to advance, because their net run rate has now fallen behind Pakistan's. If Pakistan defeats Ireland but the U.S. loses, tying both teams at 2-2, Pakistan advances on the strength of their net run rate. Team USA's NRR fell below Pakistan's after their loss to India.

Ireland has historically been a strong cricketing nation, but they've hit a skid at the T20 World Cup. They've lost both matches they've played, including one to Canada, a national team that is not considered to be on par with Ireland's. They have no hope of advancing, and are poised to leave the World Cup without a single win.

That's what Team USA is hoping for, anyway. Defeating Ireland is the only way they make history and advance to the Super 8 stage for the first time. If they win, it doesn't matter what Pakistan does, because they'll be moving on.

The U.S. faces Ireland on Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET.