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Cricket fever is sweeping Kolkata, with the craze for Saturday’s India-Pakistan World Twenty 20 match tickets reaching a crescendo.
India’s early loss to NZ and Chris Gayle’s fastest ton notwithstanding, the upcoming India-Pak game is the one that everybody’s talking about in India.
“Several Eden Gardens can be filled up, such is the demand,” said an official of the Cricket Association of Bengal on 16 March.
The historic venue which is set to host the high-voltage clash, has a capacity of 65,000 presently which is around 35,000 less than what is used to be six years back. But still the crowd strength is enough to take the roof with their screams.
Outside the nearby Mohammedan tent from where the tickets for international matches are usually sold, a giant yellow banner has been fixed which says: “No tickets will be sold from the counter.”
It directs people to the ticketing website bookmyshow.com.
Still, fans queue up in front of the counters in search of the prized paper possession.
“Dada, duto ticket hobe? (Brother, can I have two tickets?)” is the common question that is doing the rounds in the maidan area. And more often than not, the person questioning is leaving with a glum face.
Tickets are priced at Rs.1,500, Rs.1,000 and Rs.500.
Besides the online distribution, tickets were given to each of the 121 CAB affiliate units. There were also an undisclosed number of complimentaries.
The online process to register for the lottery system for the contest on March 19, started at 12 noon last Saturday for a 48-hour window.
The fans, in India and abroad, registered by completing an online form. The registered fans were automatically enrolled into the random draw and then through an automated process, the winners were chosen.
The winners from the random draw were then given an opportunity to buy tickets for the match.
Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Pakistan’s classical singer Shafaqat Amanat Ali will render the national anthems of the two countries before the start of the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 clash at Eden Gardens on 19 March.