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Bleeding Blue: My India-Pakistan Match Stadium Experience

by Priya Mashru   ·  7 months ago   ·  
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My thrilling account of the India-Pakistan cricket match of the Cricket World Cup 2023 series held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

 

For every Indian cricket enthusiast, an India-Pakistan match is not just a game; it’s an emotional odyssey, a rollercoaster ride of fervent patriotism, nerve-wracking tension, and unbridled euphoria. Steeped in history, these encounters on the cricket field have transcended sport, reflecting the complex relationship between two neighbouring nations.

For fans, it’s more than a contest of skills; it’s an affirmation of identity, a celebration of unity, and at times, a cathartic release of emotions. As the teams take the field, a nation holds its breath, these battles symbolize the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of millions.

So, when I got this opportunity to experience an India-Pakistan World Cup match at the illustrious Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, I grabbed it with all I had. Through every cheer, every tense moment, and ultimately, the jubilation of victory, I finally understood how this clash of titans is woven into the very fabric of Indian cricket. 

The Quest for Tickets: A Surprise for My Cricket-Crazy Son

The buzz was palpable, the excitement infectious. It was a day that promised to be etched in memory forever – the 14th of October, 2023, the day of the much-awaited India-Pakistan match at the magnificent Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. This is the largest cricket stadium in the world, with a seating capacity of 132,000 spectators.

Getting our hands on those coveted tickets was an adventure in itself. It was a surprise for my cricket-crazy son, a gift we couldn’t wait to unveil. Securing seats in the lower stand was a triumph, even if it meant a three-kilometre trek to get inside. The city was feverish with excitement and we could feel the enthusiasm the moment we reached Ahmedabad. 

The Streets of Ahmedabad Come Alive 

The journey to the stadium was a spectacle in itself. It seemed that all roads led to the stadium and all eyes were filled with anticipation and hope. The streets were a carnival, with vendors hawking spirited tricoloured and blue t-shirts and artists skillfully painting the Indian flag on eager faces. Everywhere we looked, our eyes met with blue. 

As we approached the stadium, three gates loomed before us, each teeming with passionate fans. It took us a good half hour to make our way in, but once past the gates, the organization was impeccable. 

Where Blue Meets More Blue

The sea of blue was mesmerizing – everyone was wearing it, a sea of supporters united in their love for cricket. And when one stand rose – one after the other, the stadium mirrored the waves of an ocean, the blue rising and falling in euphoria.

Where Blue Meets More Blue

We arrived just in time for the pre-match performances at around 12:30. Arijit Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhvinder Singh, and Shankar Mahadevan graced the stage, leaving the audience in awe. It was a testament to the organizers that everything ran like clockwork, even with such a massive turnout.

The Parade of Champions: Teams Take the Ground

Then came the moment every cricket lover waits for – the teams taking rounds of the ground, greeted by thunderous cheers from the crowd. The display of colossal flags of both nations was a sight to behold, a symbol of the spirit and camaraderie that sports can foster.

Sun, Sweat, and Slogans: The Match Begins

As the match kicked off at 2:00 p.m., the sun beat down mercilessly. We quickly regretted wearing jeans, wishing we had opted for something more breathable. The cheers from the crowd and the fuel of cold drinks provided us with energy that kept us going.

Tension and Triumph: The Rollercoaster of the Match

When Pakistan started strong, building a partnership of 100 runs, a ripple of tension ran through the air. It seemed like a formidable challenge was on our hands. Yet, the game turned once Babar Azam was dismissed by Mohammad Siraj. Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah unleashed a barrage, dismantling the Pakistani middle order. The chants of Bum-rah, Bumrah echoed through the stadium, the atmosphere electric.

The Rollercoaster of the Match

In the end, Pakistan was restricted to 191, a commendable feat considering the earlier momentum. The mood shifted as India took to the crease. Pink placards adorned every seat, creating a mesmerizing visual. The DJ played his part, orchestrating lively moments of collective action, turning the stadium into a sea of pink. At one point, he directed the crowd to illuminate the stadium with their mobile torchlights. When the lights dimmed, the entire arena sparkled like a constellation of stars in the night sky. Despite early dismissals, Indian captain Rohit Sharma emerged as the hero, with a breathtaking 86-run innings. Virat Kohli got out for 16 which was one of his rare failures against Pakistan. With Shreyas Iyer’s stylish finish, India won, maintaining their unbeaten record against Pakistan in the ICC ODI World Cup.

The Unforgettable Journey Home

The journey back home on the special train was as exhilarating as the match itself. We took the ‘Vande Bharat’ train, a state-of-the-art addition to India’s railway system. Contrary to the regular trains, Vande Bharat is brand-new, fully air-conditioned with immaculate cleanliness and top-notch service. The train ride back was buzzing with excited fans, all still caught up in the thrill of the match. The government’s smart move to arrange extra trains to Ahmedabad paid off, as they expected a huge crowd to see this big event.

As I sit here, penning down these memories, I can’t help but marvel at the magic of cricket – how it brings strangers together, how it turns stadiums into theatres, and how it etches moments of pure joy into our hearts. The India-Pakistan match at Narendra Modi Stadium was not just a game; it was an experience, a day that will forever gleam in the cherished collection of my memories.

 

Author : Priya Mashru

Priya is a marketing professional with 15+ years of experience in finance, advertising, real estate and e-commerce. She is also a co-founder of a content and marketing agency. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Priya has a deep appreciation for culture. Her wanderlust allows her to appreciate and respect the cultural richness of the deferent places she travels to. An avid cricket fan, a retro movie buff and a mom, Priya writes with words that captivate ones imagination.

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