I have seen a number of matches in the stadium but on Sunday March 13, 2011 it was special as it was the first time I saw a one day international in the stadium and that too a World Cup match, even though it was an unimportant tie between New Zealand and Canada. Also, this was the first international match at the Wankhede Stadium after a major renovation.
There were strict instructions written on the ticket that patrons won’t be allowed to take any accessory or articles that has a battery inside the stadium. So, it was kind of difficult and unusual for me to keep my mobile phone at home as I have never kept it away from me since last 5 years ever since I started using it.
But my uneasiness because of the absence of mobile phone disappeared as soon as I entered the stadium. The newly revamped Wankhede Stadium was a treat to the eyes! New stands, jazzy interiors and the roof appeared royal and overwhelming. Just few minutes inside the stadium and I was convinced the stadium is the right choice for the World Cup Final. Another thing which amazed the cricket lovers was the price of the snacks and beverages. The rates were way below the cricket match standards.
But all wasn’t hunky dory: there were huge layers of dust on the seats. Such a scene for the first match after the new seats were placed was just unexpected. But the biggest negative point was that the screen just didn’t show anyone from the crowd! If crowds are shown in each and every venues then why not in Wankhede??? I hope this is not repeated in the next match and most importantly in the finals.
New Zealand, who were put in to bat by Canada, piled off a mountainous 358 for 6 in 50 overs courtesy a century by opener Brandon McCullum (101) and a quickfire 74 by Ross Taylor. Canada in reply looked as if they would be bowled out cheaply after losing quick wickets. However, skipper Ashish Bagai (84) and Jimmy Hansra (70*) led a tremendous fight back to help their team reach 261 for 9 in 50 overs. It’s a big thing for a team like Canada to reach that score after being 4 for 2 in 4 overs.
Not a close or interesting contest by any means but at least I can tell my grandchildren that I saw a World Cup match in a stadium (lol). But I certainly won’t tell them that I was without a mobile phone for 10 hours 15 minutes when mobiles were actually ALLOWED in the stadium. Yes, just before entering I got to know that the instructions behind the tickets meant for gadgets like cameras. Well, popats do happen!