The street running down the eastern side of the MA Chidambaram Stadium is called Bells Road. A number of gates leading into the stadium are situated on that stretch.
The area was abuzz from the morning with fans gathering and the cops were pressed into service earlier than expected.
Diehards in India blues, vendors with the Tricolour, faces painted in saffron and green - all signs that mark a match featuring India were visible and traffic was thrown out of control. This was well before 11 am, while the gates were supposed to open only at noon.
Sudheesh is a college goer. He was there in the crowd and didn't have a ticket. “Looking for one,” he said. But how would he get one, given that all were sold out? He had reason to be hopeful.
There was another boy of around the same age who too had come without a ticket. He got a R 100 ticket for R 500 thanks to the thriving black market business near the Chepauk railway station.
The Wallajah Road approaches the stadium from the southern side. It’s dotted with sports goods stores, which were doing good business too. Bats or balls were not in demand, but India jerseys were. Priced at R 200 each, they were going out steadily, said a person managing a shop called Sachin Sports Goods.
The store that usually sells more Chennai Super Kings yellows than India blues has seen a rise in demand for the latter in the last few days. “Lately, it's been from 10 to 20 everyday,” said the shopkeeper.
There was frenzied interest from the morning and by 1 pm, chaos had descended. Fans of all shapes and sizes made a beeline to the gates, some chanting 'India' and many others 'Dhoni'. The India skipper is a home boy after all, thanks to his Chennai Super Kings link.