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India trump hosts to celebrate

There couldn't have been a more appropriate way to celebrate the 150th year of Indians in South Africa than hosting a cricket match. Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 10, 2011 01:19 IST
Subhash Rajta

There couldn't have been a more appropriate way to celebrate the 150th year of Indians in South Africa than hosting a cricket match. What added more colour and fervour to the occasion was the venue it was held in - the famous Moses Mabhida Football Stadium that housed over 50,000 spectators for the match, the record attendance for a cricket match in South Africa.

There was an Indian touch to the celebrations as the majority of spectators - mostly of Indian origin - swayed to the tunes of Bollywood numbers, making it feel like the celebrations were happening in India.

However, not everyone of Indian origin was cheering for India. While there was always a generous cheer for India, the best, quite understandably, was reserved for South Africa. Whenever a boundary flowed from the South Africa willow or the Indian wicket fell, or Makhaya Ntini came closer to the boundary, the crowd went berserk and countless flags fluttered across the stadium.

"I love India, but I am a South African. So my support is always with my country," said Daniel Naidu, a third generation South African whose grandfather migrated decades back from Andhra Pradesh. That largely summed up the mood amongst the majority of the youngsters, but the older generation still rooted for India.

"That's the land of our forefathers, the place we came from. So, it will always have special place in our hearts," said Praveen, who cheered for India right through the match and celebrated wildly as India cruised to a 21-run victory in the one-off T20 match.

India did well to post 168 on the virgin Moses Mabhida wicket, with main contributions coming from Rohit Sharma (53), Virat Kohli (28) and Suresh Raina (41).