Good turnout for SA-Ireland match in Eden
Kolkata: A cricket crazy Kolkata turned up in numbers at the historic Eden Gardens here today to watch the South Africa-Ireland World Cup match after having missed the opportunity to host the India-England tie last month.
More than 25,000 spectators turned out to watch the day-night affair at the refurbished Eden Gardens, where a good number of South African and Irish fans had also come to support their respective teams.
The foreigners sat together with Indians in the stands and cheered for their teams and seemed to enjoy every moment of the charged-up atmosphere.
However, a section of policemen manning the media entry seemed to have different yardsticks of security checks for the local media vis a vis the foreign journalists.
While some Indian journalists were told that laptops were a strict no-no inside the stadium premises, the foreign scribes were allowed in with similar gadgets without the policemen even batting an eyelid.
When the local reporters pointed out and protested, the policemen relented and allowed them to take their laptops inside the press box.
Apart from this and a little drizzle in the afternoon, which, however, did not affect the game, things went on pretty smoothly at the Eden Gardens which was hosting its first 2011 World Cup tie.
The turnout was much better than what was expected as the Kolkatans seemed to make the most of what they could get after having lost the hosting rights of the only India match to Bangalore due to the unpreparedness of the venue.
A lot of fans were also heard lamenting that had the stadium been readied a few days earlier, they could have enjoyed the India-England tie.
"I rue how we lost the match, but now I have come to watch this match as I can watch the South African stars and also Ireland`s Kevin O`Brien," said Anindita Mukherjee.
A child was seen in the stands holding up a placard that read: "I am Indian but today I am Irish".
As several people rooted for the Ireland team, a slightly larger per centage of the crowd cheered for the South Africans.