When Shahid Afridi and Shakib Al Hasan walked out for the toss on Tuesday afternoon, there were barely a couple of hundred spectators. It rose to about 10,000 towards the end of the Pakistan innings, which meant the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium remained half-empty.
This raised apprehensions that the India-Bangladesh opener here on Saturday could see a similar response. Fans had queued up a night in advance before the designated banks for tickets and quite a few had to return empty-handed. It was surprising to see a marquee match like this see such a poor turnout. The price of tickets too does not seem unaffordable.
At Tk 100 (Rs 64), 400 (Rs 256) and 600 (Rs 384) for warm-up matches and Tk 200 (Rs 128), 700 (Rs 450) and 1000 (Rs 640) for the grandstand for the group matches, a sellout for Bangladesh facing Pakistan was par for the course.
Standing outside the stadium's north gate to catch a glimpse of the Pak team bus, Subho, a student of Dhaka University, sounded disappointed. "We had waited for two days. Today I hear that there are lots of empty seats, so, I approached you for a ticket," the 22-year-old told this reporter.
"We have sold around 14,000 tickets for this match," said Ali Ahsan Babu, the tournament director. "But all the tickets for group matches are sold out," he said. "Today is a weekday. Also, there was a problem with car parking and some fans had to go back," he added.