Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cricket fever touches crescendo

Ankit Gupt

Mohali: As the needle-clash between India and Pakistan is to take place just couple of days later, all roads lead to the city beautiful. Meanwhile, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi would also going to attend the hig-profile match with his family.

Cricket fever was at its peak today as scores of fans lined up outside the PCA stadium hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars while some searched desperately for non-existent tickets for the high-voltage semi-final between India and Pakistan here today.

Thousands of fans lined up outside the stadium, where batteries of electronic mediapersons were stationed with their OB vans giving live feeds and news updates ahead of the match.
Fans were desperately searching for tickets of the 28,000 capacity stadium, not realizing that 16,000 of those earmarked for the general public had been sold as early as Tuesday.

Chandigarh police, meanwhile, arrested three youngsters from near Chandigarh`s IT Park for allegedly trying to sell some tickets at astronomical prices in black market.  Chandigarh Police sources said the accused were in the age group of 18-20 years.

Police said that the accused had two tickets of Rs 250 each and one ticket of Rs 500, which they were trying to sell for Rs 56,000.
A trap was laid and a decoy customer was sent after which the arrests were made, the sources said.
Police are also keeping a strict watch on those trying to cash-in on the high craze among the fans to watch the semis after news of black marketing of tickets emerged.

Allegations are ripe that tickets priced at Rs 250 have rised to Rs 3,000 while Rs 1,000 priced tickets have been selling for Rs 10,000 in the black market. 

Meanwhile,the cricketing fraternity, including  players who could not make it to the World Cup squad,  extended its best wishes to the Indian team ahead of their high-voltage clash with Pakistan.
Wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, who was in the Indian squad for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, said he wished India beat Pakistan in the semi-final and Sachin Tendulkar hits his 100th ton too.

"The way India is playing I think they will win. I wish he (Sachin) will get his 100th hundred against Pakistan and we win. Winning is more important. And nothing like it if Sachin scores a ton," said wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, who was in the Indian squad for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

"India-Pakistan World Cup match is a big game. Both teams will try hard. The team that plays well on that day will win," he told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event `Bleed Blue` by Nike.
Recalling the 2003 game against Pakistan at Centurion, he said, "It was eight years back, Team India was strong then and is strong now too. It was a fantastic atmosphere, and I expect it would be better in Mohali."
Hoping for India`s win and Tendulkar`s 100th ton, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha said that the World Cup was definitely within the reach of the team.

"Its a great opportunity. Everyone right from a child to an adult is waiting to see Sachin`s 100th hundred, especially against Pakistan. I pray for that. We should make Pakistan bleed," Ojha said.
Right-arm fast bowler Praveen Kumar, who missed the World Cup bus due to injury and was replaced by S Sreesanth, said he will pray for the team`s win.

"Hopefully, we will do well. Want to support the team. We will pray. I hope Sachin completes his 100th century in this match," the pacer said.
Another Pacer Dhawal Kulkarni said the India-Pakistan match would be a thrilling game and hoped that the batting maestro complete his 100th ton in either the semi-final or in the final.
( With inputs from PTI) 

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