The fear of empty stands at Sunday’s World Cup final as a result of Indian fans having bought the bulk of the tickets prompted the ICC on Friday to offer to buy back from those who no longer wanted them.
A day after Dhoni’s men were knocked out of the tournament, losing to the home side in a lopsided semi-final, the International Cricket Council said fans who wished to sell their tickets for the Australia-New Zealand title clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) could do so at its official website at face value.
The move seemed largely to stem from an apprehension that despite a full house, a large chunk of seats at the MCG might go unoccupied.
Travelling Indian fans had planned their trip to Australia and New Zealand well in advance, buying tickets for all the matches India could play — including the quarterfinals in Sydney and Melbourne, the semis in Auckland and Sydney, and the final. The dream of a final finish, and of bringing back the Cup, ended in Sydney.
On the other hand, there is suddenly a huge demand for tickets among New Zealand fans, who tasted blood after a thrilling win over South Africa in the other semi-final and are eager to go all the way. That the rivals standing in the way of their maiden World Cup are ‘big brothers’ Australia only makes the clash more tantalising.
The teams are just as pumped about the match as their supporters. “There’s always that great rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. I think the fact that the two hosting nations are in the final is extremely special. I think there’s also a great mutual respect between both teams,” Australia skipper Michael Clarke said.“It’s a dream come true, I think, for all the guys… We never wanted it to end and we have made it last as long as we possibly can.
One more big push and I am sure it’s something the guys will remember forever and it’s amazing to be a part of,” said Kiwi pacer Tim Southee, who has taken 15 wickets in eight matches and with Trent Boult (21 wickets) formed the most lethal new-ball combination this tournament.