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Bangla ousted, sad fans still game for action

Bangladesh’s exit from the World Cup had raised concerns that there would be very few takers for the two quarterfinal matches scheduled at the Sher-e Bangla Stadium. Nilankur Das reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 22, 2011 00:37 IST
Nilankur Das

Bangladesh’s exit from the World Cup had raised concerns that there would be very few takers for the two quarterfinal matches scheduled at the Sher-e Bangla Stadium.

Tickets had already been sold by the banks but Bangladesh Cricket Board officials thought very few would come to redeem their bank vouchers for the match passes.

But as the windows opened for the two matches on Monday, a rising demand for tickets for Pakistan’s match against the West Indies on Wednesday got the local organisers pleasantly surprised.

“My telephone has been ringing since morning with corporate houses and acquaintances calling up for tickets for the Pakistan match,” Ali Ahsan Babu, the tournament director told HT.

“Based on my interaction with the ticket-seekers, I think Pakistan’s victory over Australia has got a lot to do with it. Moreover, they will face the West Indies who beat Bangladesh and then lost their match to England.

“So people here will love to see the West Indies bow out of the tournament,” he added.

“We do miss playing at home but then playing in Bangladesh is like playing at home for us,” Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi had said before their warm-up match against Bangladesh here in the build-up to the tournament. And he could just prove right.

West Indies had left Bangladesh with a bitter experience earlier in the tournament when stones were pelted at their team bus after their win against the hosts. Security has been beefed up since and there has been no repeat of the incident. But the Bangladesh loyals backing Pakistan definitely came as a surprise.

“We are definitely not expecting a full house but the Pakistan match will have some demand,” Rabeed Imam, the ICC media manager here told HT.

However, the other quarter-final on Friday, featuring South Africa and New Zealand, is unlikely to have many takers and officials said a crowd of 10,000 would handsomely beat expectations.