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Indore's Holkar Stadium once again proves lucky for Team India

Indore’s Holkar Stadium once more proved lucky for the Indian team as they beat the South Africans by 22 runs in a thrilling match on Wednesday.

indore Updated: Oct 14, 2015 23:08 IST
Milind Lashkari
Milind Lashkari
Hindustan Times
India-South Africa ODI,India win second ODI,Indore ODI
Fans celebrate by shining their mobile torches at Holkar Stadium in Indore on Wednesday.(Arun Mondhe/HT)

Indore’s Holkar Stadium once more proved lucky for the Indian team as they beat the South Africans by 22 runs in a thrilling match on Wednesday. So far, the Indians have won all the four one-day internationals they have played here.

The stadium went berserk with joy when the last wicket fell in the form of Morne Morkel.

Celebrations were not confined to the stadium as hundreds of fans thronged Rajwada, the heart of the city, which has become a tradition for the people of the city whenever India wins here.

There was much disappointment when the men in Blue made a modest total of 247, and the steady South African start made shoulders droop.

But the hope of a victory resurrected itself after the South Africans lost three quick wickets, the third, four and fifth - J P Duminy, Faf du Plessis and David Miller.

As the chances of Indian victory increased, the fans waved their mobile torchlights in unison, creating quite a spectacle.

Watching a match in the city after a gap of over four years, the audience had turned out in full strength to cheer the men in blue.

The Holkar Stadium was jam-packed and each and every nook and corner of stadium was fully occupied by more than 26,500 cricket lovers.

Cricket fans in hurry

The rush to get into the stadium started as early as 9 am, a good four-and half hours before the first ball of the match were bowled. Closer to noon, all routes leading to the Holkar stadium was packed with fans, many of them holding up the Tricolour.

There were long queues and it took people at least half an hour to enter the stadium. But thanks to heavy police presence, the queues were orderly and entry into the stadium was smooth.

Most of the fans were young men, through there was a sprinkling of girls and middle-aged men with their wives and children in tow.

Hawkers did brisk business

Hundreds of hawkers with merchandise such as Team India T-shirts, Tri-colour straps, colourful wigs, stickers and so on thronged the areas around stadium from early morning.

From Shastri Bridge to Palasia square and from Neelkamal Talkies to Government Bal Vinay Mandir School, packs of about 500 street vendors made brisk business, selling their wares. One such hawker, Shivendra Mishra (45), said that he had bought the materials from local markets and he expected to earn anywhere between Rs 3,000- 5,000 by the end of the day.

City traffic runs helter-skelter

The cricket fever engulfed the city in such a large way that there were massive traffic jams at all the major intersections near stadium.

During the afternoon hours, traffic was thrown out of gear at the Palasia square, Janjeerwala square, Lantern square, Ghantaghar square as thousands of cricket fans headed to the stadium to watch the match.

Though the plying of heavy vehicles on the roads leading to the stadium was banned in view of the match, many fans reached the stadium on their personal vehicles, leading to traffic snarls on all connecting roads.

The arterial routes leading to the stadium via MG Road, Shashtri Bridge, Janjeerwala Square, Palasia and Racecourse Road were completely choked.

Similar was the situation on the other routes as traffic was brought to a snail’s pace due to the road-widening work at some places. The fans even thronged the hotel where the players stayed.

Nightmare for Race Course Road residents

For the residents of Racecourse Road and nearby areas, the situation was nothing short of a nightmare as they struggled to get to their homes and other commercial establishments around the stadium. With police putting barricades at Lantern square and Janjeerwala square, only ticket holders were allowed to move towards the stadium. Many of the residents had to argue with the cops before they were allowed to pass through!

Police stations deserted

The police did not take any chances with the security arrangements. Besides additional forces summoned, the entire police force of the city was deployed.

In absence of TIs, sub-inspectors and other personnel, skeleton staff remained at each of the police stations.

Fans waited for tickets till the last moment

Many cricket fans that couldn’t get tickets from the counters or book them online were seen around the stadium attempting to score the tickets by paying a higher price.

A Rs 300 ticket was reported to been have sold for Rs 3,800 just before the match began. Likewise, many tickets were exchanged by brokers for higher prices.

First Published: Oct 14, 2015 22:57 IST