Bangalore, Feb 27 (IANS) Thousands of frenzied fans rooted for the home team at the jam-packed Chinnaswamy stadium in this tech hub, turning the atmosphere into a carnival during India’s high-octane World Cup clash against England.
Even 45 minutes after the start of high-octane clash, when big-hitter Virender Sehwag gave an electrifying start stroking six fours at will before being caught by Matt Prior of Tim Bresnan for 35, hundreds of fans were seen waiting outside the stadium waiting to gate-crash into the stadium on a hot and humid afternoon.
When news broke out that Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat, fans grew restless as frisking and security checks were taking a toll of their patience to enter the venue, which has been turned into a fortress with tight security and sniffer dogs prowling around.
On Thursday, ticket sales had ended in chaos with police caning the milling crowd to control it, leading to an uproar over the unavalaibility of tickets.
The gates to the stadium opened at 10.30 a.m, a full four hours before the start of the match, but the queues had been snaking from 8 a.m.
“It took us more than an hour to get into the stadium, as the authorities clubbed entry for thousands of ticket-holders of lower denominations (Rs.200-1,250) through a single gate,” N. Ravi, a college student, told IANS.
Baton-wielding policemen were seen chasing away unlucky fans, who thronged the stadium for a last-minute luck to watch the match by getting hold of odd tickets that were being sold on the sly in black.
Though most of the stands around the stadium were filled up, patches of empty chairs were seen unoccupied even an hour after the high-profile game got underway.
While hundreds of privileged fans with complimentary tickets and VIP passes were enjoying the match basking in shade in southern and western stands, thousands of genuine fans who bought the 7,000-odd tickets at lower price were made to sweat as they were faced a beating sun from the eastern and northern stands.
The crowd though was loving every moment of it.
“I love India” headbands, blue t-shirts to match the Indian team’s colours, placards warning of explosive batting by home team, and roars of “India will win” filled the air.