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As action warms up, fans throng to venues

cricket Updated: Sep 13, 2010 23:50 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A day before the Champions League Twenty20 kicked off, organisers didn't sound too optimistic about ticket sales in Pretoria. "We’re doing fine at all venues but Pretoria," said a CLT20 official.

On Sunday, when the Highveld Lions took on South Australia in Centurion, he couldn't have helped but smile on his observation.

"It's fantastic. Not that we had doubts about how the crowd will take to the event, but to see them thronging the stadium the way they have is just great," said CLT20 Governing Council member Dean Kino.

"We were a bit disappointed with the crowd for the inaugural game, but after that it has really picked up. We have a sell-out in Durban last day, and we are again sold out here. So, it's just getting better," he said.

Apart from allaying concerns about how the crowd would take to the tournament, the first few games have also reassured everyone about pitches here. "We’ve never played so early in the season, so I don't know exactly the wickets will be," Johan Botha had said.

Given that seven scores in excess of 150 have been scored, with two coming from the team batting second, in the first four games, it's safe to suggest the pitches are well suited to T20.

"A lot of effort has gone into promotion and building hype around the event. And this has clearly worked," said Kino. "For the first match the TRP ratings have been much higher than we had for the inaugural game last year. So you can see it's catching the imagination of the people, and it's going to be really huge in India too next year.