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Cricket World Cup 2015: Fans rock as tournament rolls on

Sydney: Forget leather, willow and lazy afternoons, the World Cup`s storyline is legions of passionate Indian fans, `light-up` cricket stumps, officials keeping tabs on bookies...and even the back catalogue of Gary Glitter.

In New Zealand, where most of the seven venues are compact and informal, officials have been quick to praise the party atmosphere, helped by a brewery offering NZL $1 million ($745,000) to be shared among fans who take a clean one-handed catch while wearing the sponsor`s T-shirt.

Christchurch`s scheduled three games have now been and gone, but the city relished hosting a global sports festival for the first time since being devastated by an earthquake.

Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon, the driving force behind the purpose-built Hagley Oval which replaced the destroyed former home of cricket in Christchurch, Lancaster Park, said it was a significant time for the city.

"It`s really important that the youngsters are able to see their heroes playing here again," he said.

At sleepy, picturesque Nelson, students of 1960s and 1970s pop music were being catered for.

On the playlist for the West Indies` defeat by Ireland and Zimbabwe`s victory against the United Arab Emirates were Pink Floyd`s Us and Them, The Monkees` `I`m a Believer` and, oddly, disgraced British glam-rocker Gary Glitter`s `Rock and Roll (Part 1 and 2).

Those music bombs which punctuate intervals between overs are a deliberate eclectic mix, according to the International Cricket Council.

"Sportainment has a generic playlist for the tournament and then depending on who is playing, this is then complemented with songs that are popular from those countries," an ICC spokesman told AFP.

"Of course, we share this complete list of songs with the respective teams to ensure that they are happy with them."

Sometimes instructions issued from the ICC don`t always filter down to the smaller host venues.

In Nelson, a juice stall operator was given permission to sell drinks at the Ireland-West Indies game only to turn up on the day to be told her drinks were banned because Pepsi was an official sponsor.

The ICC crackdown on illegal betting has also been evident from the opening game when police, many in plain clothes, patrolled Hagley Oval in search of spectators making excessive use of lap-tops or cellphones.

They said "several" people caught court-siding -- feeding match information so associates overseas could take advantage of broadcasting delays and lay bets -- were evicted from the ground.

Over in Australia, meanwhile, officials at the Adelaide Oval were worried when the capacity of the refurbished stadium had to be reduced from 53,000 to 47,000 to accommodate black sightscreens at both ends.

After all, the stadium`s first World Cup game was the highly-anticipated one between old foes India and Pakistan.

But officials need not have worried. Fewer than 42,000 turned up for the game which was said to have been sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale a year ago.

So whatever happened to the missing 5,000?

The mystery was partly solved a day later when reports emerged that a few hundred supporters from India missed the game because their flight was held up back home due to technical failure in the aircraft.

Why did they have to wait till the last-minute to reach Adelaide? One Indian fan, Ritesh Shah, who had travelled with his family from Mumbai, had an answer: "They perhaps wanted to save on hotel costs. Travel, watch match, take flight back home.

"They missed all the goddamn fun."

The attendence for India`s next match -- against South Africa -- at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground was more than double of Adelaide.

Official figures put the crowds at 86,876, which was more than the 84,336 that saw Australia play traditional rivals England on the opening day.

"I saw more Indians here than at matches at home," Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.

From Zee News

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