The area around the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium wore a festive look as Kochiites celebrated the much-awaited Indian V West Indies ODI match with much gusto, just like they did during the previous ODI matches, on Thursday.
The main road stretches to the stadium from Kaloor and Palarivattom were packed with cricket buffs moving in small groups. The pocket roads leading to the stadium witnessed heavy flow of traffic, of light vehicles especially of two-wheelers.
The vendors tried to make the most of the cricket fever that rose to a high pitch. They waved jerseys, flags, tricoloured wigs and what not at the crowds entering the stadium.
People came in small groups blowing horns and beating drums adding music to the festive mood. Some even danced to the beat of the drums.
Though the match was scheduled from 1.30 pm to 9.30 pm, cricket lovers were seen heading for the stadium since morning and vendors made a beeline to the venue since Wednesday night.
The excitement of the spectators reached a feverish pitch when the teams arrived at the stadium by 12 noon. Hoping to have a direct glimpse of their favourite stars, thousands of fans thronged both sides of the gate through which the players entered the stadium. The police team found it very difficult to control the mob even though there were barricades.
Dwayne Bravo and company reached the stadium first. When Windies hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayel got out of the vehicle, excitement touched a high. Team India’s ardent fan Sudhir Kumar, who reached Kochi on Wednesday, was there at the stadium to welcome the team, of course with his body painted in tricolour. Close on the heels of the Windies team came Dhoni and his men.
Vuvuzela, the plastic horn, was the most sought after item. The blue jerseys of Team India too were a big draw. the price was not uniform, with jerseys being sold anywhere between Rs. 200 and Rs.300.