Just yesterday one of my colleagues at work mentioned how her husband hot his kid into watching cricket and that he has now become the “typical boy” who just loves cricket. While she wasn’t stereotyping it, that’s the truth. Boys/Men in India love the sport. I’ve been an ardent Cricket fan since the time I came to the world. While I’m not the one who keeps a record of statistics, I enjoy watching the game. And because I’ve played professional cricket for a few years, I understand the game a little better than others.
So last week, I had my first LIVE cricket World Cup experience at Hyderabad. While I’ve seen other IPL matches in Hyderabad and Bangalore, this was my first time experiencing a Cricket World Cup match. It was a month back when I was in Pune when my friend asked if I’d like to go for the match, I readily agreed and he got the tickets. Of all the matches in Hyderabad, Pakistan vs Sri Lanka seemed the best of the lot. In this short blog post, I’ll share my experience of watching the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka cricket World Cup match live in Hyderabad.
Watching The Cricket World Cup Live – A Surreal Experience
I’m 8 World Cup old and have followed almost all the matches in the World Cups. Watching the match on TV is a good experience as you get to see everything clearly, plus you have the live commentary along with statistics. However, this is nowhere close to the experience of watching a match live in a stadium. If it’s an India, match you’re in for a roller coaster ride! I remember seeing Dhoni hitting a straight six live in Hyderabad during a Champions League match a few years ago and the roar you hear after such a shot is a mind-numbing one.
Even though this wasn’t an India match, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are good teams. And Pakistan team is loved by one and all across the globe, especially by Indians. I wasn’t able to go to the airport to get a glimpse of Babar and company, nor was I able to visit Park Hyatt to see them. But luckily I had the tickets for the match where I got to see all of them doing what they are best at – playing competitive Cricket!
Flags and Anthems
We were amongst the first few who entered the stadium and for the first mover advantage of choosing the best seats in the house. We had booked the South-West Terrace 2 which I feel gives one of the best views of the complete stadium. I’ve seen a few matches from this stand and love it. Soon we saw the players come out and practice and the handful of people screaming Babar and Rizwan as they waved back was a great sight.
So we had the toss, where nothing was audible. The sound system at Hyderabad stadium is pathetic, I think need to spend that improve that. Not even the regular announcements and music were clearly audible. Thanks to the big screen we knew who won the toss. Soon after we saw the flags being carried away by the kids and the teams taking on the field followed by the national anthems. Seeing this live was a surreal experience and getting insights into what also goes into broadcasting a match live was nothing short of brilliance.
Food, Match and Chants
The crowd was building up as time passed. Sri Lankans had started off brilliantly and we had already seen a couple of sixes. Pakistan undoubtedly has one of the best bowling attacks in the world and seeing them live was just amazing. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali – all of them were steaming in and clocking speeds in excess of 145kmph!
The atmosphere in the stadium kept on improving as more and more people joined in. It was so loud that we couldn’t even hear an edge! If you’re like me who loves commentary, then you’ll experience a major void. Maybe they should start having live audio feeds to the viewers as we see the match, would make it quite interesting.
During the entire match, we kept munching. That’s the best thing to do. I don’t know the last time I bought a pack of popcorn, but we had about 5 of them during the entire match. There are a lot of options including chips, puffs, frankies, pizzas, rice and fruits along with drinks. All these items were reasonably priced in my opinion.
A pack of popcorn cost Rs 100, A glass of Thumps Up was Rs 50 and so on. Water is free, however, they have dedicated areas where they have water filters. But since water bottles are not allowed, you need to go to the filter, drink and come back. The washrooms were relatively clean and usable.
Lights, Camera, Action
Live cricket matches are fun because of everything that happens during the breaks. While watching the match on TV, you’re shown an advertisement. But in case of a live match in a stadium, you can see what happens. From players changing directions to drinks and other things that are done to engage the crowd. This time around for every drinks break, the stadium lights used to get into a disco mood and there was lively music to accompany it. That was a wonderful experience.
I also got to experience the famous Mexican wave live. If you watch cricket on TV, you know what I’m talking about. The DJ asked the crowd to get into the groove and slowly the entire stadium got into it. There were a few waves that went along and the roar of the crowd was scintillating. It reminded me of the Dolby Atoms 360 experience that you get when you’re at a movie theatre, you could hear the roar travel around the stadium!
Full Paisa Vasool World Cup Experience
I reached the stadium around 11 AM and left at 11 PM, which meant I spent 12 hours there. The experience was so amazing that I didn’t even realize I spent so much time. On top of it, what an amazing match it was. Both the teams scored close to 350 runs, we got to see 4 amazing centuries, some great fielding and big sixes. This experience isn’t something that one can experience while watching the match on TV.
My first live Cricket World Cup match experience was nothing short of fun and exciting. Further, a lot of people feel that the tickets are expensive, well they are not. So apart from the Rs 850 tickets, me and my friend spent about Rs 2500 on food. As it is 50-over cricket is dying, so the ICC wants more people to watch the matches and hence the tickets are priced adequately.
Overall, I had a good time watching the match live. Things were managed well by the HCA and the city police. Metro was running till late – super crowded post the match – but the arrangement was helpful to many.
That’s about it for this blog post, let me know in the comments if you’ve watched a cricket match live and how was your experience. You can also reach out to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.