Arena with a capacity of 132,000 seats, named after the prime minister Narendra Modiis the epicenter of cricket’s spectacular tournament, culminating in a sensational showdown between cricket-mad hosts India and Australia. With participants hailing from different corners of India and the world, the city is bustling with some hotels reportedly charging ten times the fees. than usual.
In a bid to secure accommodation, there have been reports of fans approaching local religious institutions to spend the night in subsidized dormitories meant for devout pilgrims. Others joined candlelight vigils and prayed for the victory of their beloved team.
Suresh Raval, a local resident outside the stadium, likened the atmosphere to a “big Hindu festival” with families and friends celebrating in the streets. Raval and his friend, who were lucky enough to secure tickets, are confident of India’s invincibility and admitted they are having trouble sleeping.
While many fans have reportedly paid exorbitant sums, up to 20 times the face value of the cheapest ticket, the financial strain seems negligible if India secure victory. Vijay Kumar, a fan from Andhra Pradesh, expressed his joy at the festival atmosphere outside the stadium, highlighting the shared hope and nervous excitement among the participants.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles prepare to witness the match, the packed stadium will host an air force flyover, a dazzling light and laser show and hundreds of dancers performing Bollywood hits between innings.
Sahil Khanna, a fan from New Delhi, emphasized the celebratory atmosphere, saying: “All the songs and dance are good, but we are here for the game – and happy as long as India wins.”
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Amidst the celebratory atmosphere, security forces have been deployed in large numbers to ensure the safety of the 130,000 fans in the stadium and tens of thousands more flooding the streets in case of an Indian victory as dreams and expectations reach fever pitch.
(With inputs from AFP)
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