Bangaloreans await Sunday double extravaganza

Bangaloreans await Sunday double extravaganza

Bangaloreans await Sunday double extravaganza

Thousands of Bangaloreans, many with children in tow, will head north of the city centre in the morning to see helicopters and  fighter jets weave breathtaking designs in the sky as curtains come down on the AeroIndia 2011 at the sprawling Yelahanka air base.

Hundreds of them will be rushing back to the city, many heading to the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and many more to their homes so as not to miss a ball of the India-Australia warm-up cricket match ahead of the World Cup starting Feb 19.

The AeroIndia show, eighth in the series, has turned out to be a great stage-setter for the cricket fever. The air show organisers expect around 275,000 people for the static and flying display of over 100 military and civil aircraft, including 47 foreign planes and different helicopters before the show concludes Sunday.

Similarly, about 70,000 business delegates from 70 countries would have made a beeline to the military and civil aviation trade show spread over 75,000 square metres. The AeroIndia 2011 was the largest ever hosted by the country with about 675 exhibitors, including 380 from 29 countries and 295 domestic firms, participating in the five-day expo.

Though a warm-up match, a sell out crowd is expected Sunday to fill the 50,000-seat stadium in the heart of the city, flanked by the famed Cubbon Park on one side and the prestigious M.G. Road, a popular youth hang out, on the other.

Only a few tickets for the pavilion and corporate box costing Rs.4,000 each are available to be picked up. All other tickets - from Rs.250 to Rs.3,200 each - have been sold out.

The warm-up match is day-and-night show, with the temperature dipping along with the sun and becoming chilly as night descends. These days the maximum temperature in the city hovers around 30 degrees and the minimum 14 degrees Celsius.

The enthusiasm for the warm-up match is understandable as India figures only in two of five World Cup matches in Bangalore, the one against England thanks to Kolkata's Eden Gardens not being ready.

The other match for India here is against Ireland March 6. The fans may not find other World Cup matches at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as thrilling because England will be playing Ireland March 2, Australia will take on Kenya March 13 and Canada March 16 - all considered to be less exciting.

Ahead of the Sunday warm-up, the Indians and Australians have been rigorously practicing and exercising at the National Cricket Academy facilities adjacent to the stadium.
The Chinnaswamy Stadium also has its share of history as venue for 12 Test matches and 10 One-day Internationals, including two World Cup matches (1987 Reliance Cup and the 1996 Wills World Cup.)

The Karnataka State Cricket Association, now led by ace leg spinner Anil Kumble, has plans to increase the seating capacity to 70,000 and enhance facilities to spectators across the stadium.

Such a capacity is needed as Bangalore's population has grown exponentially since the stadium was built over 25 years ago. The city now has nearly eight million people.

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