City celebrates as dominant India storms into WC finals
Hyderabad: The semifinal match of the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023 was a virtual extension of Diwali celebrations in the city.
Hyderabadis celebrated India making it to the championship clash, it's fourth in the crème de la crème event, with an effortless 70-run crushing of New Zealand in Wednesday’s semifinal showdown at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The city was abuzz with excitement late in the evening as the sport’s fans stayed glued to the live telecast to not miss out on the crucial match.
From hosting lively ‘watch’ parties at home to setting up big screens in offices, and taking advantage of enticing offers at various pubs, people turned every available space into a cricket haven. The fervour was palpable. Fans celebrated the win with fire-crackers in almost every locality.
Ironically, when India chose to bat first, emotions were low as they were keen on watching the thrill of India chasing down the target with patented panache.
Employees, caught in the work and cricket dilemma, raced against time to join the festivities. Some enthusiasts even managed to secure permission to work from home, ensuring that they don't miss a single ball.
"I asked for a half day and the bosses obliged. They knew that there was no point keeping us waiting at work, where we don't have a TV," said Ayush P, at a popular club with his friends, wearing the Indian jersey.
Pubs anticipated a good crowd and made it livelier with myriad offers and match-themed menus. Crowds kept coming in towards the evening.
One fan remarked, "It's not just a match; it's the most critical moment of the entire tournament for us."
As the tension built, fans were aware that New Zealand, with five wins from nine matches, was no pushover.
"History favoured the Kiwis more, especially in 2015 and 2019. We dreaded a repeat of that, especially not in our backyard. It would have broken a million hearts. It's a phenomenal win indeed. Kohli's stupendous century (record 50th ODI ton) and Shami's fantastic spell (7/57) were breathtaking delights," said Prajwal M.K., who was both 'anxious and excited', as the match neared its climatic stages.
Incidentally, this was India’s first win over New Zealand in an ICC knockout match.