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Rediff.com  » Cricket » ICC World Cup final: PIX: It's a sea of blue at Motera

ICC World Cup final: PIX: It's a sea of blue at Motera

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 19, 2023 14:02 IST
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Flags in hand, fans heading towards the Narendra Modi Stadium for the ICC World Cup final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad on Sunday

IMAGE: Flags in hand, fans heading towards the Narendra Modi Stadium for the ICC World Cup final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Photograph: Kind courtesy Phil Long/X

The buzz had reached its crescendo at least 24 hours before the 'big match' and with three and half hours to go before the start of the most awaited World Cup final, an ocean of blue seems to be travelling towards Motera.

 

The city of Ahmedabad has become the centre of the cricketing world. It seems as if the entire city is moving in one direction. The roads of Ahmedabad are full of energy and a bit of madness.

The Bharat Army in the stands

IMAGE:The Bharat Army in the stands. Photograph: ICC/X

Fans wearing the India jersey, carrying the Indian flag, laughing, joking and anticipating an India win are moving towards the Narendra Modi stadium. There are families, friends, children, adults, teenagers, middle aged and the senior citizen who have all painted the city blue.

The traffic moved at a very slow pace till Motera but comes to a complete halt near the stadium. You can's move an inch if you don't have a VIP car park pasted on your vehicle. A hologram is required to be pasted on the accreditation card as well a part of SPG protocol since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian deputy PM Richard Marles will be in attendance. The level of expectation from Rohit Sharma's team has long crossed the critical limit of craziness.

The World Cup final is a family bonding exercise for some cricket-mad fans 

IMAGE: The World Cup final is a family bonding exercise for some cricket-mad fans, who reached the stadium at early as 10 am. Photograph: Kind courtesy Junaid Khateeb/Facebook

The city is ready to explode as 132,000 capacity stadium won't even have an inch of space left. The streets that lead to Narendra Modi Stadium's main entry gate are lined with sellers of counterfeit India jerseys.

Little Hetwik, all of eight is a big Hardik Pandya fan as he is Gujarat Titans skipper. He wants a jersey with Pandya written on back but gets disappiontment.

"Only Virat, Rohit, Maxwell and Warner available," the seller Qayamuddin said and started tending other customers.

"Beta, wear Virat, you look smart in this," the young father tried to persuade the kid whose eyes had already welled up.

fans make their way into the stadium 

IMAGE:fans make their way into the stadium. Photograph: ICC/X

This final has been God-sent for Sheetal Ben, who has an ailing husband at home and the counterfeit industry has been her way of putting food on the table.

"I have been selling at-least 200 to 260 Virat Kohli jerseys and 150 Rohit along with India hat which is a big hit. During India vs Pakistan match, I earned around 30,000 in three days. That's about what I will make in six months time when tournament is over. God bless Rohit and Virat. They run my kitchen," Sheetal Ben smiled.

At-least 70,000 or more fans who have tickets aren't the locals and have flown in from different parts of India and a few thousands are NRIs from UK, USA, Australia, Canada and Singapore, who have spent a bomb for a cricket vacation.

Fans waiting to board the metro

IMAGE: Fans waiting to board the metro. Photograph: Kind courtesy Sandeep Mall/X

At least 20 charter flights with dignitaries, politicians, business men and Bollywood personalities are supposed to land in Ahmedabad for the game.

For the upmarket Indian elite, it's not just about Virat's cover drives or Bumrah's Yorker but also being at a happening place and have their "I was there moment" under the sun.

The country's who's who are booked at the team hotel as the party will continue till wee hours of the morning.

Tickets worth Rs 3500 is being sold at 30 times premium in the black market while hospitality tickets have been sold in lakhs.

A fan gets cheeky

IMAGE: A cheeky fan in the stands. Photograph: Kind courtesy ICC/X

The hotel prices have shot through the roof. A few fans have decided to stay overnight at Ahmedabad railway station waiting room as they don't have enough money to pay Rs 15,000 for one-night stay at a hotel. That's the minimum rate available even at the 'cheapest' hotels.

"Sab behti sabarmati mein haath dho rahein hain," remarked a fan.

A beaming fan ahead of the ICC World Cup final 

IMAGE:A beaming fan ahead of the ICC World Cup final. Photograph: ICC/X

For the past three days, the ITC Narmada five star facility, where the national team is staying, has seen huge crowd gather in front of main gate.

"I saw Dravid, Rohit and that coach (Paras Mhambrey) the other night getting out of hotel," a fan, who reached Narendra Modi Stadium as early as 11 am trying to beat the traffic, said.

The party had begun at 8:00am this morning and if India win, the celebrations will continue all night.

There was just about a sprinkling of Australian fans at the stadium

IMAGE:There was just about a sprinkling of Australian fans at the stadium. Photograph: ICC/X
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WORLD CUP 2023

WORLD CUP 2023