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Hundreds pack Guthrie Green to watch India-Pakistan cricket match

Posted at 8:19 PM, Jun 09, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — The 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup was anything but crickets at Guthrie Green June 9 for around 300 people.

Tulsa's Indian community and its Pakistani community witnessed the India vs. Pakistan match on a large TV screen with passions running high, and for good reason.

"It's like a family gathering mostly, like what you see with American football, you know?" Kishore Machani told 2 News.

"(Cricket is) just like in baseball, you can be pitcher, can be batter, right? The same way," Kishor Kurapati added.

"It's like a passion that's in the blood for most South Asian nations," Santhosh Umpathy said. "Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, all the South Asian nations - they love cricket."

And to nearly a quarter of the world's population, the match-up is the fiercest rivalry in sports that transcends culture. But it's also an opportunity if you ask the Green Country Cricket Club (GCCC).

"We want to build bridges between communities," Krishna Ivaturi told 2 News. "It doesn't matter where you're from, what your inclinations are or your beliefs are."

The non-profit GCCC, along with the City of Tulsa Asian Affairs office made downtown's first-ever watch party for cricket possible, much to the delight of fans on both sides to watch ball, play ball, and grab a classic cricket meal from caterers with Tandoori Guys.

"(The watch party) actually makes it more exciting that there's always a tension between Indian and Pakistani fans," Adil Saeed said. "But at the end, we are all here to have fun."

The cricket club's leaders said that while most of the group enjoyed India's victory Sunday, the Tulsa area as a whole won.

"There's no better place than in the United States where you can find the Indian communities, the Pakistani communities, the Afghans, the English, the Australians, and of course the American mainstream communities to come together and say it's possible to do that without a fight," Ivaturi said.

"At the end of the day, cricket is all about building friendships and staying healthy," Umpathy added.

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