World Cup 2019: Exiting Pakistani fans treat Indians to match tickets
Old Trafford witnessed warmth and camaraderie as losing Pakistani fans swapped places with ticketless Indian fans after fall of third wicket
Manchester: Amidst the frenzy for the India v Pakistan match at Old Trafford on Sunday, a touching gesture was witnessed by mid-day and it showed that peace still exists between the people of both nations. After Pakistan lost their top three batsmen, chasing India's 336-5, fans gave away their precious tickets to Indian fans Hemang Shah and his group of friends who then got to witness India's triumph from the stands without owning any tickets for the game.
Shah undertook a three-hour journey by car from his home in Newcastle in the hope of getting some tickets. "We came to the ground hoping that someone would help us with tickets. There were people selling tickets for 400 to 500 pounds (approximately Rs 35,000 to Rs 45,000).
Team India fan Hemang Shah (right) with his group of friends during the India-Pakistan match at Old Trafford on Sunday
"As soon as the partnership [of 104 runs for second wicket] was broken between Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman, a lot of Pakistani fans started leaving the stadium. When they saw so many Indian fans still waiting outside the ground in the hope to enter, they gave away their tickets to them. Thanks to them [Pakistani fans], we can proudly say that we witnessed India's World Cup win v Pakistan. It was an amazing atmosphere. We were so grateful when they told us that we can use their three tickets," Shah told mid-day yesterday.
Shah and his four friends were able to witness India's bowling from the 26th over to the 40th after rain interruptions reduced the match by 10 overs. A World Cup ticket holder can enter and exit the ground multiple times during the course of the game. "There were many such lucky Indian fans like us who entered the stadium after the 25th over of the Pakistan innings," informed Shah.
Indian supporters cheer their team during the group stage match against Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday. Pic/Bipin Patel
Shah's friend Ankit Patel, who has come from India for the tournament, was thrilled to experience the energetic atmosphere here. "I never imagined that I would watch an India-Pakistan World Cup match. I didn't try for tickets because I knew they would be in huge demand. I still can't believe I watched the match from the ground. I had to pinch myself to be convinced that this wasn't a dream," said Patel.
Shah said a lot of Indian fans had given away their Champions Trophy final tickets to Pakistani fans waiting to get into The Oval in 2017. "At that time, India played poorly and a lot of Indian fans, including myself, left the stadium mid-way. We too gave away our tickets to the Pakistani fans," said Shah. The mood in the stands was so cordial that no untoward incident was reported in Manchester.
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