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Dhaka, home away from home for Pakistan

Wednesday March 23, 2011 06:32:46 PM, Sirshendu Panth, IANS

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Dhaka: It is difficult to imagine whether Pakistan are playing at home or overseas. Pakistan flags fluttered in the galleries in large numbers and the fall of every West Indies wicket was greeted by a huge roar. There were Pakistan jerseys all over the Sher-e-Bangla StadiumA big cheer welcomed Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi when he joined the attack in the 17th over.

"A few hundred cricket lovers have come from our country," said a Pakistani journalist.

Apart from the Pakistani fans, the local cricket lovers seemed totally behind the sub-continental side. On the approach road to the stadium in Mirpur, a large number of local sports buffs were seen carrying Pakistani flags and animatedly discussing how Afridi's team would devour the West Indies.

Apart from the sub-continental camaraderie, the popular anger against the West Indies also bolstered support for Pakistan. The Caribbean side dismissed Bangladesh for 58 to win their group game by nine wickets. Also, locals feel they needlessly made a big issue over a couple of pebbles thrown at the team bus after that game, that too mistakenly.

Bangaldesh loss still rankle locals
Though the Sher-e-Bangla national stadium recorded a very good attendance for the quarterfinal, several Bangladesh fans did not turn up even after buying tickets at astronomical prices. The dismay and sadness at Bangladesh's early exit are the principal reasons.

The journalist of a leading local daily was one of them. "I had purchased the tickets hoping Bangladesh will be in the last eight. Now that they are not there, neither my family, nor I have any more appetite for the World Cup."

Bengali sweets a big hit
After toiling practically without any break for over a month to meet stiff deadlines and even stiffer demands from their offices since the World Cup got going in this city, the large corps of mediapersons working here finally had time to relax Tuesday evening. The occasion was a party thrown by Bangladesh Tourism Board for the media at a posh five-star hotel.

It was a cultural evening with music and dance and there was a lavish spread of chicken biryani, roasted chicken and other equally tempting gastronomic delights.

But what bowled over the journalists was an assortment of ethnic Bengali sweets -- patishapta, peetha (pancake) and the like.









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