Punjab fans haven’t stopped cheering

April 2nd, 2011 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, April 2 (IANS) Cricket fervour has not ebbed in Punjab three days after India’s euphoric win against Pakistan in Mohali.

After shouting slogans and cheering for India in the semifinal Wednesday, fans in Punjab and Haryana want to do the same for the India-Sri Lanka final in Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium many miles away.

They said with a touch of pride Saturday that they had made the team win against Pakistan and it was now Mumbai’s turn. Hotels and firecracker sellers here also geared up for brisk business.

“We gave you a victory in Mohali that was termed the mother of all battles. Now it is the turn of Mumbai to ensure India wins,” said Mohali resident Naveen Soni as he prepared to enjoy the cricket World Cup final with family and friends Saturday.

World Cup fever has reached it zenith, with fans in Chandigarh, Mohali and other parts of Punjab and Haryana praying for India’s victory at the final in Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium.

They had done exactly this on Wednesday when India played Pakistan in the semifinal.

In Ludhiana, a big cake, resembling a cricket stadium, has been prepared by fans.

Though India will play this high-voltage match several miles away from here, Chandigarh has made elaborate arrangements to witness the spectacular tie.

The city’s hotels, bars and restaurants are all geared to cash in on the excitement and enthusiasm. They have refurbished the ambience, installed big screens, rolled out special menus and are offering special discounts during the match hours.

“Our guests can enjoy the match on new wide screens, installed in our hotels. Special menu cards have been made in the shape of a bat and a ball. There are special drinks, cricket-themed cocktails and mocktails like dazzling yorker, LBW, India’s punch, captain’s cooler, googly and whipping cover,” A.K. Malhotra, general manager of CITCO (Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corp), told IANS.

“We are expecting a good rush during the match hours. Besides we are offering special snacks and dishes like Sachin’s cover drive, Dhoni’s naan, chicken short leg, fish third umpire, prawns short leg and chicken caught and bowled,” stated Malhotra.

“We have made special arrangements for today’s final and we are getting requests for the reservation of seats for the last couple of days. Our waiters will wear the jerseys of Indian cricket team to add colour to our ambience,” Ankit Kumar, owner of the prominent Himani bar, told IANS.

He added: “Special discounts will be offered between 2 p.m. and midnight. We have installed new screens so that our customers can enjoy live action of the match while sipping chilled beer and eating snacks and food.”

Chandigarh-based firecracker sellers have been doing brisk business for a week and keeping their fingers crossed, praying for India’s win.

“Our sale figures turned around when India thrashed Australia to enter the semifinal match; otherwise this is a very lean period for our business. Today again we would open our outlet till late. We are praying for India’s win,” Bhure Lal, a wholesale dealer of fire crackers here, told IANS.

“We will celebrate the victory today just like we did for the Mohali win. We will be on the roads till early morning if India wins,” Akhilesh Singh of Chandigarh said.

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