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In London, Phillies slugger Bryce Harper says US cricket upset of Pakistan was ‘awesome’

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LONDON (AP) — Bryce Harper can recognize great hitting, even if it’s in cricket.

The Philadelphia Phillies slugger was impressed by the United States pulling off a huge upset over Pakistan at the Twenty20 World Cup in Texas.

He didn’t quite know the names, but few Americans do.

U.S. captain Monank Patel scored 50 runs and Aaron Jones hit the ball out of the park — a “six” in cricket because it’s good for six runs — late in the match to help the Americans catch 2022 runner-up Pakistan on Thursday and force a “super over” before winning in the extra frame.

“That was legit,” Harper said Friday at London Stadium ahead of a weekend series against the New York Mets. “That was awesome — that guy rakes, that captain. Damn, he can hit a cricket ball.”

Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor is one of the few baseball players who have given cricket a shot. He visited Lord’s Cricket Ground in London a few years ago as part of a promotional event with athletic-gear company New Balance.

Lindor, after signing balls and gloves for fans inside London Stadium at the end of the Mets’ workout, told The Associated Press that batting in cricket is quite tricky.

The “bowlers” (pitchers) throw balls that usually bounce first before reaching the “batsman” (batter) — intending to either knock off a “wicket” behind the batter or force a pop up or tipped ball that is caught. That is also called a wicket, and the batter is out.

“It was very difficult,” Lindor said. “I had a good time, but it was difficult. It’s not as easy as it looks. Definitely much respect to them. They do things that I can’t do so much respect to them.

“The ball is bouncing and going in different directions and the swing is more an uppercut swing. You’ve got to scoop it, in a way.”

Lindor and Harper were the exceptions, though.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso’s response was more representative of the rest of the players — and probably much of America.

“I know zero things about cricket,” he said.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

By KEN MAGUIRE
AP Sports Writer

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