Thiruvananthapuram: The poor batting performance of West Indies has yet again dampened the hopes of cricket lovers to witness an action-packed international cricket match at the Sports Hub stadium here.
The first international match at the Sports Hub, the India-New Zealand T20 match of last year, was marred by rains. Hence cricket lovers were expecting to witness 100 overs of thrilling cricketing during the India - West Indies one-day match on Thursday . But the match was reduced to just 47 overs.
Cutting across age and gender, hundreds of cricket lovers from various parts of the state thronged Kariyavattom Sports Hub from morning to watch the match, which was the last of a five-match series.
Though the match was scheduled to begin only at 1.30 pm and stadium opening to public only by 11 am, by early hours of the day itself cricket lovers arrived near the stadium. Many were eager to see the players coming to the stadium and warming up in the ground.
Despite being a working day for offices and educational institutions, office goers and students turned up in large numbers. Families in large numbers also turned up to watch the match.
"These are like once in lifetime events for people like us residing in Thiruvananthapuram. Hence decided not to give it a miss," said Jayaraj J, senior official with a private institution who watched the match with a couple of friends.
Scores of vendors selling flags, t-shirts and hats were seen on all roads leading to the Sports Hub from morning, wooing the cricket fans.
About 75 percent of the galleries were full by the time the match began at 1.30 p.m.
The galleries resembled a blue sea with most spectators wearing Indian jersey, mainly of skipper Virat Kohli and former skipper M S Dhoni.
Unlike the previous India-New Zealand T20 match, seat numbers were issued to each ticket holder. Hence the spectators were relived from rushing to get seats. About one hour after the match began, the galleries were almost full.
Though the weather forecast was adverse and there was drizzle in the morning, by noon the climate was very pleasant.
As wickets of West Indies started falling right from the first over, the crowd was initially highly charged up. But as the wickets kept on falling in short intervals, the cricket lovers were upset as the guest team was only setting an easy target for the host team.
"We are here to witness some huge hits, brilliant catches and big wickets. But we missed it this time too," said Santosh Kumar, who came down from Attingal.
The Indian fans even supported the struggling West Indies players by cheering them up while they hit a couple of big shots.
Many cricket lovers were also upset that they could not watch former skipper M S Dhoni's batting this time also. "During the previous math here also we missed Dhoni's action, especially his helicopter shot.
This time we even expected to witness Dhoni crossing the 10,000 runs mark in one-day internationsals as he was just one run short," Arun R, a city resident.
Anyway, opener Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli gave some electrifying performance for the cricket lover to cherish. Rohit hit four sixes and five boundaries to cross the half-century and score 63 runs. Kohli hit six fours to score 33. Both also remained not out....