T20 World Cup Eng v Sri Lanka

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T20 World Cup Eng v Sri Lanka

Grahame Smith reports on Cricket T20 World Cup Final in India. Exclusively for Comicus

Attending the Sri Lanka v England match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi with my cricket loving partner, Ruth, there were several aspects of the evening that were contrary to expectations. The first of these was the process of just getting into the ground. India is clearly keen to make sure the tournament goes off without any major incidents and the first thing you encounter when you reach the ground is airline type security, where offensive weapons such as paperback novels or bottles of water (with or without their lids on) are not allowed in.

We were told beforehand that no electronic devices would be allowed in, but everybody got in clutching at least their mobiles as evidenced by the occasional display of communal lights held up from the phones of the 14,000 fans inside the stadium.

Even buying merchandise and food contained surprises. After purchasing an officially branded T20 cap and India replica team shirt, we were told that we now qualified for a complimentary light cotton T20 banner and a separate red and white England flag.

We were in the ground for a long time and having decided not to risk taking in any offending foodstuffs through security we did find ourselves feeling peckish and coming to terms that to survive the day on Coke and endless packets of crisps was not going to work. Therefore we approached the food stall with some trepidation and stood eyeing up some of the local Indian samosa type snacks which, although looking appetising, did suggest to our delicate Western pallet that to eat any of these may be storing up constitutional trouble for us later on. Whilst pondering this dilemma the lady behind the counter asked to see our tickets. Surely not another security check. No, the lady advised us that our tickets did in fact qualify us for a free tiffin box, containing a range of bhajis, and sweet treats and a carton of fruit juice (the best before date of which had expired a month ago). All of which we ended up consuming without the slightest hint of ill effects.

As for the match, the pre-game chatter was about England’s perceived tepid bowling attack and Sri-Lanka’s poor middle order. When Sri Lanka went into bat chasing England’s highly defendable score of 171, they were virtually blown apart in the first 4 overs with England’s bowlers routing them to 15 for 4. Then it was the turn for the Sri Lankan middle order to further confound things to get their team to a point where they needed a not impossible score of 15 from the last over. Just when we feared the worst, Ben Stokes stepped up to the plate and bowled so tightly that England eventually secured victory by 10 runs.

Can’t wait to repeat the experience on Wednesday for the Semi-final versus New Zealand. We may even try and live dangerously and see if we can get through the stern looking security guards and their sophisticated scanning machines with the fun-sized mars bar we kept from the plane flight (and successfully got through immigration, customs and security at the airport!).

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