Mumbai eagerly awaits World Cup finale


Mumbai : The excitement was palpable in air as cricket fans started landing at ‘fortress’ Mumbai for the Cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka scheduled Saturday.

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Most city hotels were booked to capacity ahead of the much-awaited final while restaurants and pubs were all geared up with their special offers of unlimited drinks and food priced between Rs.2,000-5,000.

With the Maharashtra government declaring Saturday a special public holiday, most private offices in the city declared it a half day. For those interested in watching the match with friends and colleagues, big screens were put up at most corporate houses.

“I have already got my ‘bleed blue’ jersey and secured my ticket. I am looking forward to be in the middle of all the World Cup action and am very excited about it,” said Moin Merchant, a cricket fanatic.

Security was heightened in South Mumbai as several police teams, National Security Guards, Maharashtra’s elite Force One, Rapid Action Force, State Reserve Police Force and Quick Response Team were maintaining strict vigil at Wankhede Stadium, the venue of the match.

The city police have decided not to allow parking within a radius of one kilometre of the stadium and have also appealed to spectators to opt for public transport instead of private vehicles.

Though the previous two matches at the stadium – New Zealand vs Canada (March 13) and New Zealand vs Sri Lanka (March 18) — went off without a hitch, police are much more alert ahead of the finale.

While the police were geared up to face any potential terror threat in the city, cricket fans were enthusiastically making reservations at their favourite restaurants and sports bars.

“I am going to have full-on entertainment with my friends at a restaurant in suburban Malad, close to my home,” said Vivan Soares, a cricket fan.

“We have already made reservations and are looking forward to make the most of this exciting day,” he added.