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What atmosphere! What unprecedented scenes here at Mohali! It's one of those days when the date becomes part of a rhetorical clichÃ©d question - Where were you on 30th March 2011? The World Cup Final may well be in Mumbai, but the road to Mumbai goes via Mohali and it definitely doesn't get any bigger than India vs. Pakistan.
Mohali this morning seemed like a perfect scene out of â€˜I Am Legend', resembling a ghost town bereft of all humans, albeit with a twist: Three miles down the road millions (it seems such) have descended to witness a game of cricket. It all started 9 days back when the ticket counters opened and the possibility of an India - Pakistan semi-final was whispered in close circles. It was a conjecture and all the rush witnessed at the ticketing counters was due to the expectancy of this game. The tickets were sold out in around two hours (an all too familiar position) and the touts converted their tickets into a gold paper when the tie was confirmed.
As the news of big politicos, movie stars and cross border high profile dignitaries streamed into the air, so did the price of tickets go through the Himalayas. The cost of a ticket to watch the biggest match in cricketing history defied all logic: student tickets of Rs 250 were on sale for around Rs. 50,000. One can only imagine the price of Chair block (Rs 500) and VIP block (Rs1000) tickets! Many are out here to make a quick buck; maybe enough to last a life time would be more appropriate.
Mohali and Chandigarh's citizenry has always been welcoming to all and the PCA stadium, one of the best not just in India but the entire cricketing world, is a perfect setting to make this match one for the history books. A disposition of fervent patriotism with bonhomie of relations with the neighbours permeates the chilly spring air of Mohali.
And as the hour approaches, the crowd is swelling and making a beeline to get into the arena. Large serpentine queues are already developing and the who's who of the media are here reporting while establishing themselves for a perfect background position. With Mohali going Libya's way for the day (No fly zone), it seems as if all of Punjab Police has left the town on its own and are here wielding their sticks to control the unruly crowd. Ambulance vans and Rapid Action Force are on a standby mode on the parking lot just in case the need arises.
The atmosphere is bustling with energy and towards the rear entrance of the ground, more Police patrolling the perimeter of the ground and more crowds seem to be coming into the ground. A group of youngsters, faces painted with Tricolor, whiz past in open jeeps and the fans that are lining up are already getting into contests with their favourite chants: 'Jeetega bhai Jeetega, India Jeetega' is competing strongly with 'Sachin, Sachin'. There isa cacophony of sounds, mixed with drumbeats, its distinguishable falsetto.
Oh! It is infectious and as Ravi Shastri would say: â€œThe atmosphere here is electric.â€
Mohali - the only place to be today if you are a cricket fan.
- 01/04/2011 08:49 - Simon Taufel, Trevor Bayliss provide Australian flavour to World Cup final
- 31/03/2011 11:58 - The Mohali Party: Celebrating a memorable win
- 30/03/2011 18:13 - India down Pakistan in thrilling encounter to advance to World Cup Final