Cricket mania has touched a crescendo in fortress Mohali as it gears up to stage the eagerly-awaited World Cup semifinal clash between India and Pakistan and even the ruckus over ticket sales has failed to dampen the fans' enthusiasm.
The Wagah-Attari border has been flooded by fans on
either side of the border who raised slogans in support of their nations while at Mohali, where the two teams will face each other on Wednesday, water-tight security has been put in place.
A Pakistani fan cheers his team on before the start of the Cricket World Cup match between Australia and Pakistan at The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
During the retreat ceremony at the Wagah (Pakistan)-Attari (India) border yesterday, a huge gathering of fans of the two countries was seen waving flags of their nations.
Fans raised slogans like "Hindustan Zindabad, Hindustan Jeetega, Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Pakistan Zindabad" as cricket took center-stage and everything else was pushed in the background.
Multi-layered security has been thrown around the stadium, including the Special Protection Group, National Security Guard, Central and State police forces.
"Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan besides a host of VVIPs will be watching the match. We have made water-tight security arrangements," Mohali's Senior Superintendent of Police, GPS Bhullar said.
Anti-aircraft guns will be placed strategically and NSG commandos will join a large number of security personnel to guard the stadium, which will be primarily taken over by the elite SPG.
With the arch-rivals facing each other after a long gap as bilateral action between the two nations had been suspended in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, cricket mania has been touching new heights with each passing day.
Fans from Pakistan have also started to trickle in. Pakistan Cricket Board official Tariq Haqim arrived here with his wife and son Ibrahim.
"Everybody wants to rush to Mohali to watch the match, such is the craze among the fans about this match," Haqim said.
Haqim's wife, whose grandfather hailed from Jalandhar and served in the police force during the British rule, said that it was her second visit to India but this time it was an altogether different experience.