All roads lead to the Motera on Sunday. More specifically the Narendra Modi Stadium – the world’s biggest venue will be the cynosure of all eyes for eight hours as the entire country and the cricketing world at large watches with rapt attention. This is the World Cup final, and India are bidding to win a third title at a stadium that will be packed to the rafters.
Three hours out from the start of the game, thousands of faces painted with the Indian tri-colour and donning blue jerseys have already made their way in, bellowing slogans of “jeetega bhai jeetega, India jeetega” and doing their bit to create a raucous atmosphere. It’s just that the intensity will amp up several notches in the next couple of hours, with at least a lakh still outside and queuing up to patiently enter the premises of a sprawling venue. Once everybody is in – all 1,32,000 of them – it will make for the biggest spectacle witnessed till date at a cricketing venue.
While the Australian team is bracing up for a game against 11 players and 1.3 lakh Indian fans, there will be some support for the five-time world champions too. On Sunday morning, a few Australian fans purchasing jerseys adorning the names of Warner and Maxwell on the back from roadside vendors were also spotted.
The craze has been palpable for a couple of days. Akin to a tourist spot during the holiday season, fans were milling about outside the main entrance of the stadium all through Saturday. The request for tickets was expectedly the common refrain, though they knew such calls will be in vain unless they have deep pockets. On a ticket reselling website, the going rate was ₹8,32,918 on Saturday morning.
With clear skies and a nip in the air making for a pleasant Sunday, a cracking contest between two teams who have had contrasting roads to the final is in store. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other high-ranking dignitaries will make their presence felt. A slew of Bollywood actors and internet influencers are also expected. The Indian Air Force’s Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team, featuring a fleet of nine aircraft, will wow the spectators with a 15-minute airshow ten minutes before the start of the game.
By 2pm though, all the attention will turn to the contest, with one team walking away at the end of a long day as world champions.