Typical of any India-Pakistan encounter, it was a humdinger of a match with a near-capacity crowd cheering every home team move in their hockey World Cup opening match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here today.
Deafening sounds of cheer reverberated the stadium whenever an Indian player won the ball or the home team made a good move. The crowd was on feet with unrestrained joy when India scored the four goals in the match to win it 4-1.
There were collective deep sigh of relief when Pakistan missed a chance just like Sohail Abbas' drag-flick in the two penalty corners he took -- one on either side of the breather -- which hit the crossbar after beating Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh Raveendran.
Among the crowd, many carried Indian flags. A few Pakistani flags were also seen in the crowd.
The stadium, which can have at least 16,000 spectators, was, however, not full to the brim or choc-a-bloc as was anticipated earlier even though the match was played on a Sunday. Some empty seats were seen at a few blocks of the stadium.
Moreover, a large posse of policemen were also seen at the stands due to the stringent security measures.
Even the second match of the day between Australia and England saw a large crowd as more than half of the stadium was full, apparently due to the India-Pakistan clash.
Many spectators were seen dancing when the Indian players ran lap of honour around the ground after the match.