It will be more Surat than Sydney

India and Australia may be meeting in the heart of Moore Park, but the atmosphere at Thursday’s World Cup semifinal is expected to be more Surat and less Sydney.

M.S. Dhoni’s men have enjoyed the backing of partisan crowds throughout the tournament; this occasion is likely to be no different, with Indian supporters expected to be in the majority at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Local newspapers predict that up to 70 per cent of the tickets have been purchased by Indian fans, a scenario the home side is well aware of.

“It’s a no-brainer; we know they will,” the Australian captain Michael Clarke said here on Wednesday, when asked whether his team’s supporters would be outnumbered.

“I think it’s fine. We know we’ve got the support of the Australian public. We’ve felt it the whole tournament, and we’ll feel it again tomorrow whether it’s 30 per cent of the fans here or 50 per cent of the fans. Indian fans in general are wonderful supporters of the game. They want to see their team win but they also respect good, entertaining cricket.”

Last week, Clarke and David Warner took to Twitter to rally support for the Australian team. “I call on all Australian cricket lovers to paint the SCG gold on Thursday. We need your support. #goldout,” they wrote.

Indian fans are unlikely to ever need such exhortations to fill a cricket ground. Rohit Sharma was confident the frenzied support from the stands would continue. “Considering the fact that Australia is playing in Australia, they’ll get some support,” he said on Wednesday. “But hopefully tomorrow again it will be more blue than yellow.”

The atmosphere apart, it is certainly going to be an explosive contest between the talented, confident home team, Australia, and the defending champions, India, a side that has not lost a single game in the tournament so far.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 4:44:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/it-will-be-more-surat-than-sydney/article7033194.ece

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