iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times
Dharamsala, May 15, 2013
As the Indian domestic league-2013 draws to a close with interesting turn of events - four teams grappling to seal playoff berth, small but sleepy hill town Dharamsala is all set to witness thrilling games at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium.
With their hopes of finishing in the top four still alive, Kings XI Punjab, the host team, will now look forward to advance to the play-offs by winning the last two games against Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians to be played here on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

“We are fully geared up to cheer our team so that they can make it to the top four,” said HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood.

He said more than 30% tickets for the first match between Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Kings XI Punjab were unsold till Tuesday. “However, the things became competitive in the top of the table after our team defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Tuesday and we witnessed a jump in the sale of tickets for the match against DD and are expecting a full house,” said Sood.

He said over 95% tickets for the last match against Mumbai Indians have been sold out and the sale turnover is Rs. 1.62 crore, the record so far in Dharamsala.

The first match would be played in the night, while the second one is a day-and-night affair. Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab and DD teams arrived at Dharamsala on Wednesday. The guest team will be staying in - The Pavilion - HPCA's five-star residential complex while hosts - Kings XI Punjab - are staying in Hotel Conifer.

The craze among the fans for the second match, besides witnessing Mumbai Indians' star players Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in action for the first time at the HPCA venue, is chuckling peaks on the horizon of the stadium.

The HPCA stadium, one of the newest venues in the country, is situated nearly 4,000 feet above sea level with mighty Dhauladhar ranges in the backdrop making it one of the most beautiful grounds in the world.

Pitch curator Sunil Chauhan said this would be a good wicket to bat and bowl. “It will give equal opportunities to both the batsmen and bowlers. It will be an exciting game with a fabulous setting,” said Chauhan.

Meanwhile, the district police administration has beefed up security in and around Dharamsala. “We have put tight security cover in place for the matches. A 1,400-strong force will be on duty on match days,” said Kangra SP Balbir Thakur. He said the two companies have been deployed in McLeodganj suburb, where revelers had went on rampage last season.

Temporary parking lots have been earmarked at Police grounds Dharamsala and Dari area so that spectators coming from neighbouring states do not face any problem.