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Fans scramble for tickets for "mother of all battles"

Mohali: Tickets for the much-anticipated India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final have been sold out days ago but the mad scramble for them continues with desperate fans flocking the PCA stadium.

Scores of fans could be seen moving around the stadium hoping desperately to grab a ticket from somewhere.

On Tuesday itself, the PCA had announced that 14,000 tickets at its disposal had been sold to the public through the designated bank and its counters and asked the fans not to approach them.

However, fans are not prepared to give up. "I have been coming here since Monday, but have not been able to get any ticket," said Vikas Sharma, a young executive with a private company.

Allegations that black marketers are making a killing have been flying thick and fast.

"The tickets are available, but if you pay Rs 3,000 for a Rs 250 ticket and shell out Rs 10,000 for a Rs 1,000 ticket. Those selling in black have managed to purchase tickets in bulk," alleged Ram Kumar, a bank officer in Chandigarh.

"The semi-final match is going to be mother of all battles, in a way even bigger than the finals. Genuine fans should not be deprived of watching the match and police should take tough action against those selling in black," he said.

A good number of fans are also expected to come here from across the border to support Pakistan.

Representatives of some corporates willing to pay astronomical amounts could be seen making a beeline outside the PCA in their desperate bid to get tickets of the prized boxes.

Meanwhile, with top dignitaries from India and Pakistan expected to be there to watch the match, top police brass reviewed the security arrangements that will be put in place.

Nearly 2,000 cops are expected to be deployed in and around the PCA stadium as part of security measures, police sources said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent an invite to his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to watch the match.

"We are also expecting many other top dignitaries from the two countries and therefore maximum security will be in place for the match," a Punjab police official said.

Hotel Taj in Chandigarh, about 12km from here, where the two teams are staying has been turned into a fortress with 1,000 cops deployed for security.

Chandigarh and Punjab police are also coordinating to ensure adequate security for the high-voltage match.

Hotels within a radius of 30 km from Chandigarh, including those in its adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali, have been booked to capacity in view of the great demand from the fans.

PTI

From Zee News

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