A 1,100-strong partisan crowd cheered the Indian team with passion, providing an electric atmosphere not seen so far in this tournament
The Aditya Global Sports ground, a good 45 km from the city’s centre, resembles a peaceful yoga retreat with its idyllic setting rather than a cricket ground.
The venue for the highly anticipated India-Pakistan clash in the T20 World Cup for the Blind, however, appeared anything but serene here on Friday.
A 1,100-strong partisan crowd cheered the Indian team with passion, providing an electric atmosphere not seen so far in this tournament.
Pakistan prevailed by eight wickets in the end, sparking wild celebrations among the victorious squad. As the Pakistani flag was hoisted and the disappointed crowd trudged off, the cricketers spoke about the thrilling experience.
“It is natural for the home crowd to support its players; we were expecting this. But I wish the crowd would also appreciate good cricket, irrespective of which team plays,” Zeeshan Abbasi, the Pakistan captain said, adding: “It was quite exciting, but if we had allowed ourselves to react to the noise from the stands, I’m quite sure the pressure would affected our performance,” he added.
Shekar Naik, the Indian captain, put on a brave face despite the loss, promising a better show in the upcoming matches. “I’m very thankful to the crowd for the support. We didn’t feel any extra pressure, this did not play a part in our loss. We are confident that we can come back strong in our next outings and give joy to our fans.”
The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council, meanwhile, announced a reward of Rs. 20,000 (for beating a tournament favourite) for the squad members. A team official announced this after the win, and the players cheered the gesture.
Around 40 policemen were present at the venue, as a purely precautionary measure. A senior official, who did not wish to be named, said: “We had a trouble-free day. Our officers told us to come here to keep an eye on things. There were larger crowds today compared to previous matches.”