Mumbai , March 18 (IANS) Many young fans who turned up at the Wankhede Stadium here Friday said they came to see their Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians pacer Lasith Malinga rather than his Sri Lanka team playing New Zealand in the World Cup.
Both New Zealand and Sri Lanka are through to the quarterfinals and their last Group B game will only determine where they finish in the points table.
Surprisingly, the crowds were milling outside the stadium a couple of hours before the start of play. Some of them said they came to cheer their Mumbai Indians fast bowler Malinga.
The 27-year old Sri Lankan has been nicknamed “Slinga Malinga” for his slinging bowling action and is quite popular among the youngsters with his curly blonde hair.
“We have come to see Malinga. He is very exciting to watch and one of our favourite Mumbai Indians players,” said Karan Dixit, a budding cricketer who trains at the Vengsarkar Cricket Academy and came with a group of 10 friends to cheer the Sri Lankan.
Bands vying for Cricket for Peace album
Fifteen bands in Mumbai Friday played out their compositions for the Cricket for Peace programme being conducted in the three World Cup hosting nations.
More than 100 bands from nine cities across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are vying for a place in the MoneyGram Cricket for Peace Music Album, which will be launched here on the eve of World Cup final.
Bands that came for the auditions included groups such as Altered Reality, Joi, Travelling River Band, Grazin Musician, Kamaal Ke Phool, D Flotters, Sparsh, Lust Of Symphony, Death Watch Beetle, Sanchaari, 22 Electric Houses, Translucent, Super Vibe, Melted Jupiter and Katanm.
Gastronimical delight for journos
Cricket is as popular in Sri Lanka as it is in India. And it is no surprise that quite a few journalists from the island nation turned up to cover the match.
To make them feel at home, the Mumbai Cricket Association included ‘Sri Lankan chicken curry’ in the buffet lunch. But it was the mutton that the journalists loved to dig into.
“The chicken curry is not like Sri Lankan. But we loved the mutton,” one of them said.
Nashik Dhol keep spectators on their feet
If there was Bhangra beats which brought the Delhi and Mohali spectators to their feet, it was Nashik Dhol for the Mumbaikars here.
Dressed in saffron and white, around 15 artists were given a roaring welcome by the crowd before the match as they walked around the boundary rope waving at the crowd.
Nashik Dhol is a permanent feature in all the matches here, including the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Sri Lankan players pay tribute earthquake victims
The players from the Island nation wore black bands to show solidarity with the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The massive 9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan last week, critically damaging a nuclear power plant and claiming over 6,000 lives so far.
Japan is one of the largest exporter to Sri Lanka and the players wanted to show their support.
The island nation itself had to bear the brunt of a devastating tsunami in 2004.