Cricket frenzy engulfs State

Cricket fans gather in front of a shop to watch the World Cup match in Raichur.  Roads were deserted, shops were closed and several offices declared holiday.
The usual milling crowds in towns were missing as most people remained glued to the television sets, watching the nail-baiting match.

Kolar

It was by breaking 108 coconuts that cricket fans in the city prayed for the success of Team India in its monumental clash with Pakistan at Mohali.

Led by the vice-president of the town municipal council, Murali Gowda, young men of Pulikeshi Kannada Sangha of Jayanagar offered the coconut sacrifice at the Saphalamma temple, seeking success for their favourite team.

The young men also planned to view the match on the temple premises where they erected a huge flat screen TV on an elevated stage.

A few hours before the match, cricket madness was at its feverish pitch in the city, with youngsters, face painted with the national colours, marching in a procession, carrying the national flag.

As the match was due to begin at 2.30 in the afternoon, holiday was declared in many colleges. As the start of the match drew closer, fans gathered around TV sets. Big groups of people gathered before a number of shops that had TV sets showing the match.

Mysore

In the City of Palaces, the usual flow of tourists to the palace and the zoo was missing. Instead, big crowds were seen at shops, hotels and pubs which had television sets showing the match. Some star hotels and clubs had made special “wine and dine” arrangements for watching cricket.

The number of visitors to the Mysore Palace was half the daily average. Sources said only 2,376 general visitors, 110 foreign nationals and 445 students visited the palace, while on Monday, it had registered about 4,162 visitors, the palace officer told Deccan Herald. At the zoo, the daily gate collection was only Rs 1.34 lakh on Wednesday, while it was Rs two lakh on Monday, said Markandaiah, the executive director. Even hospitals and cinema halls recorded a low turnout. Some hospitals re-scheduled surgeries and operations, too.

“A youth, who was to undergo a minor surgery, requested us to postpone it as he could watch the match,” said a doctor in a private nursing home. Some industrial units had four-hour shifts.

Belgaum

The cricket fever gripped Belgaum too. Arrangements were made to show the match on large screens at Jirge Auditorium at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Millenium Gardens, apart from hotels and clubs.

A few shops, which were open, did not have customers in the afternoon. The rest of the city stayed indoors, wishing Team India victory.

Dharwad

As soon as Team India won the toss, shop owners voluntarily downed the shutters. The main roads saw only a few vehicles and buses were almost empty; the traffic police were seen relaxing amid the cheering crowd. Second PU students, who usually discussed the question paper after the examination, hurried home after writing their last paper.

The atmosphere in hotels, which drew customers with special arrangements, was charged with spectators shouting slogans: “Mera Bharat Mahan”, after the first innings.

Bidar

The Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company division, which supplies power to Bidar, received rare appreciation and gratitude for ensuring uninterrupted supply during the historic match.

Parents, who had snapped TV cables to make their children prepare for the exams, were a bit disappointed.

They were seen asking their relatives and friends for updates over the phone and enjoying Team India’s performance. Those who didn’t have TV sets thronged the footpaths in front of shops to watch the match.

Mangalore

The coastal city was no different from other district centres. Banks and commercial establishments, hotels and petrol bunks wore a deserted look. The city talked only cricket.

The temple town Udupi was absolutely silent but for the occasional “cheers” and “oops” heard from the residences and the shops with television sets.

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