The mood of cricket fans changed after the loss to the Australian team in the World Cup finals on Sunday. (Image by R. Pavan)
HYDERABAD: The city went to sleep early to face one of the most difficult Mondays, with the cricket World Cup slipping out of India’s fingers at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, a day which begun with such hope.
Before the match began, the spirit of cricket enthusiasts transcended the confines of living rooms and extended to the busy metros, where passengers, and even motorcyclists, ingeniously navigated ways to catch every gripping moment of the match. Home theatres witnessed animated watch parties, while big LCD screens adorned apartment complexes and gated communities, turning residential spaces into miniature stadiums.
Fan fervour reached new heights with dedicated fan parks sprouting in malls and other locations. Masood Azar at DSL Virtue Mall in Uppal pined that team India mentally lost the match when Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were dismissed.
"It's a learning experience which taught us how we could've done better if we didn't take stress. Probably why MS Dhoni is was called Captain Cool," said Rohit Mylamala, at TOC in Himayathnagar.
Pubs and clubs, capitalising on the Sunday crowd, experienced an influx of fervent fans with special screenings and offers that ranged from 20-50 per cent off on best-sellers. Cafes, too, played their part, offering extra seating, special deals, and even thematic decorations.
The loudest cheers at Red Rhino were reserved for city boy Mohd Siraj, despite him conceding 45 runs in seven overs for a wicket. When the cameras panned to Siraj tearing up after the loss, words of affirmation and claps emerged.
The city adorned itself in the iconic blue jersey as cricket aficionados united to witness the monumental clash. Most remained hopeful until the first half of the second innings, and the crowd quietly melted after that.
The streets of Hyderabad may have witnessed heartbreak, but the resilience and sportsmanship displayed left an indelible mark on the city's cricketing spirit.
But ardent fans, with every ball bowled, echoed with cheers, celebrating every milestone - from Virat Kohli's remarkable feat as the sole Indian and seventh overall batter to hit 50-plus runs in both the final and semi-finals of an ODI World Cup to the crucial three wickets claimed in the intense second innings.
Even in the face of a few moments of hushed silence, fans deemed the match a brilliant spectacle, attributing the sentiment to the stellar performance of the Indian team throughout the tournament. Each victory, no matter how small, became a cause for celebration, transforming what some considered a dull match into a testament to the team's unwavering dedication and skill.