As the semi-final fever rages on, cricket buffs from the twin cities plan to get their fix at hot spots to watch the big game unravel today. Be it private, intimate gatherings or all-out commercial screening, dozens of people are planning to watch the match with friends and family.
Tickets had sold out like hot cakes at Cinepax three days before the epic India-Pakistan semi-final match. Catching the vibe, eateries and restaurants whipped up special menus for the event.
Sana Hassan, a graphic designer is excited to be watching the game on the big screen at Kuch Khaas. “I love the idea of Boom Boom green velvet cupcakes with coffee, while watching my favourite sport”. Popcorn, icecream and face paint stalls will be set up with cricket enthusiasts donning green outfits and customised tees. The centre for arts, culture and dialogue will hoist projection screens at the outdoor lawn, the indoor hall and the LCD at the indoor café. Hotels Marriott and Serena have set up customised World Cup cafes since the start of the tournament.
Clique Café will serve special cricket cupcakes and mint smoothies. Nana’s Kitchen will charge Rs500 for those who view the match at the cafe, compensating Rs100 in the edibles purchased. Cinnamon will serve complimentary welcome drinks and cricket patented cupcakes, with a ticket costing Rs500 with 10 per cent discount for those wearing green jerseys.
Universities are also chipping in their bit to make the most of the experience.
Rajeel Imran, an undergraduate of Shifa International Medical College, told The Express Tribune, “We are setting up a big screen with top-of-the-line equipment, high quality, SP-4 speakers. Everything we can do in a limited budget to entertain the faculty, staff and students of the college and the hospital.”
Belal Shahid, a student at Foundation University Medical College will watch the match at the university campus where it will be aired on a big screen for all the students. When asked about Pakistan’s chances, he said, “I don’t care who stars, as long as we win!”
Some people, on the other hand, prefer private screenings at home in the comfort of friends and family. Sharez, the mind behind the viral track “Shahid Afridi (the boom boom song)” pieced together a surround sound cinema setup where he plans to enjoy the match with 30 of his closest friends. Sharez, like much of Pakistan, hopes that Shahid and the boys keep the winning feeling going for at least another couple of games.
Ali Naveed, who works at a telecom company, had even more laid back plans. He’s going watch the game in a much calmer environment at home with his wife and three-year-old daughter in front of his brand new widescreen TV.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Sports along with Pakistan Sports Board have installed two large screens in the Jinnah Stadium at Islamabad Sports Complex to show the much awaited match to the general public free of cost.
Federal Minister for Sports Engineer Shaukatullah said these special arrangements were made because a large number of people could not visit India to see the match in Mohali stadium due to a shortage of match tickets. These large screens will provide the audience a stadium-like environment and will be a great source of entertainment for the people of Islamabad.
Heavy contingents of police will be deployed at these venues and markets to provide security and control any possible reaction of the crowd at the end of match. Special patrolling teams have been constituted to keep a vigilant eye in and around the various locations having big screens, while sniffer dogs will also be there to clear the venues.
Farhan Mahmood, 20, a resident of G-11/4, told The Express Tribune that he will enjoy the intense drama of the semi-final between the two arch rivals at F-9 Park. A spokesperson of CDA said, “Comprehensive arrangements are being made for the festivity at Fatima Jinnah Park. A food festival and colourful programmes have also been planned.” Additional reporting by Azam Khan
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2011.
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