Bangalore set for cracker of contest

March 6th, 2011 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 6 (IANS) A week after the high-octane India-England match ended in a dramatic tie, this tech-hub is set for another cracker of a contest Sunday afternoon, with an upbeat Ireland raring to take on co-hosts India in the cricket World Cup 2011 at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

In what would have been otherwise a one-sided game, the upset victory over England Wednesday transformed minnows Ireland into a fighting unit, making even fancied India sweat it out at the nets for the crucial encounter.

Though India returned from Dhaka winning and Ireland losing to co-hosts Bangladesh, sharing a point with England has made this match a must win for the home team to make it to the knock-out stage, as it faces formidable opponents in the remaining three league matches later this month.

India has three points from two league matches, including two from its 87-run emphatic victory over Bangladesh Feb 19, while Ireland has two from two games. A win will give India two crucial points to remain in the top along with South Africa or England, currently playing a day match in Chennai.

In contrast to the baton-wielding chaos witnessed for tickets prior to the India-England match Feb 27, the day-night one-dayer is expected to be a smooth affair as all tickets have been sold out after Ireland pulled off a dramatic victory to ensure a full crowd in the 40,000-seat capacity stadium.

“After failing to get tickets for the India-England match, we were not interested in other matches as we thought they were one-sided between minnows Ireland and England/India. But after the Irish beat the English, with its all-rounder Kevin O’Brien scoring the fastest World Cup hundred, we bought six tickets online to see them play against India,” N. Ravichander, a post-graduate student, told IANS.

With the kind of pressure hosts Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) faced from the International cricket Council (ICC), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to reserve about 20,000 tickets for the India-England match easing, the scramble for complimentary or VIP tickets for the Sunday game has been less than feared.

However, hundreds of die-hard fans, who rushed to the stadium Saturday to grab as many of the low-priced tickets, were a disappointed lot, as counters were shut and the venue turned into a fortress with unprecedented security.

“We were not aware that for a low-key India-Ireland match, all tickets have been sold through counters and online. No one knows, how many tickets were on sale, who bought them and when. There is something fishy about the way they (tickets) are being sold,” lamented K.R. Murthy, an avid fan, who came from Mysore, about 140 km from here, to watch the match.

If the shifting of India-England match to Bangalore from Kolkata was a windfall for KSCA, a sell-out crowd for Sunday game will be a bonus, as the next two Group A matches — Australia against minnows Kenya March 13 and then against Canada March 16 — may not bring even ardent fans to the stadium in droves.

Incidentally, the KSCA is run by former Indian captain and leggie Anil Kumble as its president and speedster Javagal Srinath as secretary.

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