World Cup fever grips Hyderabad, and the wait is finally over for fans as cricket lovers lined up to witness the second warm-up match between Australia and Pakistan at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
The first warm-up match between Pakistan and New Zealand was played behind closed doors due to security reasons, a decision that left fans disappointed. However, long serpentine queues were witnessed on Tuesday, with a majority of them turning up to support Australia.
There was excitement and festivity in the air as many first-timers lined up to enter the stadium.
“This is our first World Cup match, and we are pretty excited to enter the stadium and watch the match. David Warner is our favourite cricketer, and we have come to support Australia. We will also be travelling to Bangalore to watch some games,” a couple told Sportstar.
“I have come to witness Warner’s batting, and this is the first time I will be watching him bat live. It will be a different experience as I have only watched him on TV. As a cricket fan this is a very special day for me,” said a youngster.
Warner shares a special bond with the city, having captained the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL and having a solid fan base. Terming it as his second home, the Australian had said earlier that he loves being in the city. Along with his destructive batting, Warner has often entertained the crowd by shaking a leg to the local songs each time he has played a game at this venue.
“From Delhi, I moved to Hyderabad. This is my second home, and to come back here to open arms and to be greeted by the fans, some of the passionate and kind words, it means a lot to my family and myself,” Warner had told earlier.
The Pakistan team too has a fan base, with locals turning up to witness the likes of Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi in action.
Procuring tickets for the World Cup warm-up matches was a hassle-free process, according to many spectators. The ticket prices start at Rs 750, with the highest being sold at Rs 23,600 for the corporate boxes.
“We got the tickets from BookMyShow and it was rather a very smooth experience. I hope the facilities in the stadium are up to the mark as we did face issues during the IPL,” another spectator said.
The stadium has received a facelift, with new seats being installed and the eastern canopy equipped with brand-new floodlights. New turnstiles with scanners have been installed for the seamless movement of fans, and the host association is ready to handle the demands of spectators.
“All arrangements have been made, and from washrooms to other facilities, everything has been taken care of. There won’t be any issues this time,” a senior official said.
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