BBC BLOGS - Alison Mitchell

Archives for March 2011

In the middle of India's party

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Alison Mitchell | 17:02 UK time, Thursday, 31 March 2011

Driving back from the PCA Stadium to the players' hotel after India's thrilling semi-final win over Pakistan, our minibus came to a grinding halt.

Craning forward expecting to see another road block, we saw a small white car, which had braked and pulled up right in the middle of the crossroads where we wanted to turn right.

A teenage lad was riding on the roof of the vehicle holding aloft an Indian flag while a man in his twenties rode on the bonnet with a Punjabi dhol drum cradled in his lap whacking out a party beat.

Soon, out of every window of the car, came arms, followed by bodies, as the occupants waved and punched the air to the beat of the drum, whooping in delight at India's passage to the World Cup final.

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Hearts on both sides of the border beat together

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Alison Mitchell | 12:07 UK time, Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Desperation to get tickets for the World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan stepped up a level yesterday when there were skirmishes outside the ground in Mohali.

The newspapers here are awash with stories of the lengths fans will go to get tickets for this match - the first time Pakistan have played on Indian soil since 2007. One fan was pictured outside the stadium carrying a placard, which offered his kidney to anyone who could get him in.

India's biggest Bollywood stars and most famous business tycoons are expected to fly to Chandigarh but the airport is only small and there are already reports that it has run out of space to park all the private jets. Even the players are struggling to meet the demands of their friends and relations.

Shoaib Akhtar's family is making the journey by road from Islamabad but he was last seen at breakfast on the eve of the game, distraught that he might have mislaid their tickets.

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