DHAKA, March 3 — Cricket-mad Bangladeshis defied tight security and their own side’s humiliating Asia Cup loss to turn out in large numbers on Sunday to watch rivals India and Pakistan clash in Dhaka, reports AFP.
Police cleared streets outside the stadium in the capital ahead of the match and set up strict security checkpoints for spectators, forcing several thousand fans to wait in long queues outside.
“I’ve been in this queue for about half a hour,” said Khurshid, who only gave his first name and came to watch the match along his six Indian Kashmiri friends, all medical students based in Dhaka and carrying Pakistani flags.
“The security is unprecedented. They stopped cars and buses more than a mile off the stadium. We had to walk a long distance,” said Mohammad Hanif, 24, who calls himself a “huge fan of India and Virat Kohli,” the Indian captain for the match.
Sadly for Hanif, Kohli was dismissed for just five.
Mohammad Mintu, 25, was among local fans who turned out for the match, relishing the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to see India and Pakistan renew their cricket rivalry.
“I bought a ticket at 800 taka ($10) in the black market. It’s eight times the normal price of the ticket,” Mintu said.
Inside the stadium, there were wild cheers for every wicket that fell and boundary scored as Bangladeshis tried to forget their own side’s humiliating 32-run loss on Saturday to newcomers Afghanistan.
The loss means Bangladesh, runners up at the last Asia Cup in 2012, are almost certain to be knocked out of the 11-match tournament.
Since the World Cup semi-final in 2011, India and Pakistan have played just five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches against each other.
Their most recent meeting was in the Champions Trophy last June, when India won a rain-affected match in Birmingham by eight wickets and went on to win the tournament.