Flying Dutchmen just the ticket for World Cup

New Delhi: Netherlands` magnificent performance against England will boost ticket sales of matches featuring the non test-playing nations, the World Cup`s official ticketing agency hopes.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to reduce the World Cup from 14 to 10 teams from the next edition in 2015 but fans here have already delivered their verdict on cricket`s small fry by mostly turning their backs on their games.

Less than 10,000 fans turned up in Chennai when New Zealand humiliated Kenya on Sunday and alarmed Indian organisers are planning to bus in school students to fill the stadiums.

Meanwhile, their Sri Lankan co-hosts have slashed ticket rates for their matches featuring non-test playing teams.

The Netherlands salvaged some respect for the so-called minnows with a gritty show against England on Wednesday, only losing with a couple of overs to spare after setting a more than respectable target of 292-6.

KyaZoonga, the World Cup`s official ticketing agency, hoped that performance would bring the fans back to the grounds.

"Of course not many have turned up for matches featuring associate teams but after the Netherlands` performance, we expect a surge in demand," KyaZoonga chief executive Neetu Bhatia said in a telephone interview.

"People will realise they can watch good cricket even when their team is not playing."

The Netherlands put up what turned out to be the highest score by an associate team against a test playing nation and returned to give England a real fright before going down in the tense match.

"It should improve sale of tickets for matches. They played so well and that too against a strong team like England."

"It`s a long tournament, trends will develop and some of people`s pre-conceived notions would eventually go away. With such strong performances by the associate teams, I`m sure demand will rise," Bhatia said.

"We encourage all to come and watch those matches and be a great host. India is called the home of cricket, so they need to care for non-India matches as well."

"Of course in the subcontinent, people leave things for the last minute and we are expecting a late dash for tickets."

"Most popular are obviously the India matches, all are sold-out."

"Then the demand is high for matches between strong test playing nations, like tomorrow`s South Africa v West Indies match in Delhi. All Bangladesh matches are sold-out as well," she said.

"In Sri Lanka, there is massive demand for matches featuring their team. In fact, most matches are already sold-out. Second in demand are the matches featuring Pakistan. We got a great response there."

Bureau Report

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