Minutes after the Indian players left the ground at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, the stage was set up for the musical soiree which has been organised to entertain the crowd ahead of Saturday’s big-ticket showdown.
Arijit Singh, Shankar Mahadevan and Sukhwinder Singh will perform at the pre-match show which has already invited a lot of criticism since the World Cup didn’t have an opening ceremony.
The rehearsals continued till late into the night even as policemen kept a strict vigil outside the main Club House. Golden ticket holders Sachin Tendulkar, Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan are also expected to be present.
The clamour for tickets seems to be growing with every passing hour. Thousands gathered outside the flyover near the main entrance seeking tickets which have been selling at multiple times their face value in the black market.
Among those present at the gate was Mohammad Bashir, famously known as Bashir Chacha or Chicago Chacha in cricket circles. The American passport holder — always a favourite of selfie-seekers — is perhaps the only Pakistani fan who will be present in the stands though he claims he still doesn’t have a ticket for Saturday’s encounter.
There is no dearth of security starting from the team hotels — India are staying at ITC Narmada while Pakistan are at Hyatt Ahmedabad — to the stadium complex. Even as the teams practised with no spectators in the stands, the security could be compared to the bandobast on any match day.
As the Indians finished their nets, a member of the support staff returned to check the dew on the ground. Dew generally favours the batting side making it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball.
Rohit Shama, however, played down the dew factor. “Honestly, I don’t know how much of a factor it is going to be, because in Delhi, we were expecting dew to come in. It didn’t come,” the India captain said.