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Business News/ Sports / Cricket News/  ICC World Cup 2023: Cricket fans across world gear up for India vs Pakistan match

ICC World Cup 2023: Cricket fans across world gear up for India vs Pakistan match

The match between India and Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup is expected to draw a crowd of 130,000 at the world's largest cricket ground in Ahmedabad.

Cricket Fans from Delhi to Melbourne Gear Up for India-Pakistan Clash. Premium
Cricket Fans from Delhi to Melbourne Gear Up for India-Pakistan Clash.

Millions of sports fans are anticipated to pack restaurants, bars, street markets, and malls in India and Pakistan — and elsewhere in the world — as the two South Asian arch-rivals play each other at the men’s Cricket World Cup on Saturday.

The two teams will meet in front of a crowd of 130,000 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the world’s largest cricket ground. The one-day international match could last as long as nine hours and is taking on extra significance as it will be the first time in seven years that Pakistan has played in India following years of deteriorating relations between the two cricket-mad countries.

The long match time means that venues are coming up with all kinds of activities to keep fans engaged for the duration of the game. In Delhi, the DLF Promenade luxury mall is charging 1,200 rupees ($14) for its viewing party, which it is billing as “Delhi’s biggest," and is offering “experiential bars" on top of live music and food. In Lucknow, sports management company Gold Standard Sports is showing the match at an indoor stadium for 2,500 fans. 

“Watching the match with friends with beer is what the day is about," said Aditya Vikram, 24, who is attending the Lucknow party. “It’s a vibe."

Indian’s railways will also run two special trains on the day from Mumbai to Ahmedabad to clear an “extra rush of cricket fans," according to a statement on its website.

Restaurants are also trying to come up with unique offerings to draw fans. Tijuana, a Mexican restaurant in Mumbai, has a package that includes cricket-themed trivia rounds and a special menu that will “subtly" use elements of Indian and Pakistani cuisine, said Anurag Katriar, founder of Indigo Hospitality Pvt., which owns the restaurant. Drinks infused with green and saffron colors, representing India and Pakistan’s flags, will also be served.

The World Cup, which is being held in India for the first time in 12 years, is expected to boost consumption of food and beverages, benefiting not just outlets, but also Indian delivery services like Zomato and Swiggy, as well as Foodpanda in Pakistan. One estimate suggests that the tournament could add as much as $2.6 billion to India’s economy. 

In Pakistan, electricity supply companies have in the past been asked to ensure that there are no power outages during an India-Pakistan game.

Many in diaspora communities outside of India and Pakistan will also be tuning in — even at very inconvenient hours. In New Jersey, for example, a banquet hall will show the game at 4:30 a.m., while in Australia’s Melbourne screenings are expected to run through to the early hours of the morning.

Not everyone plans to watch the match outside, however, given its length, preferring instead to while away the hours with friends in private. Some fans, like 40-year-old Ajay Thomas John from Chennai, will show the match on a projector in his home.

“Because it is a long match, I prefer spending it with friends, ordering food, and playing some games," he said. 

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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Published: 13 Oct 2023, 06:37 AM IST
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