In fact, one of the biggest cheers of the day was reserved for Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga, who represents the local Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. The stadium, which was about 75 per cent occupied, erupted after Malinga, who made six runs off four deliveries, whacked a Jacob Oram delivery over long-on for the maximum, which was his only scoring shot.
“It does not surprise us. We are happy that people of Bombay (Mumbai) support good cricket. Even in the first match in this stadium between New Zealand and Canada the crowd was good,” Mumbai Cricket Association joint secretary Lalchand Rajput said.
He said about 11,500 spectators were present for Sunday’s game, which was among the highest for non-India games, involving the minnows of world cricket. According to MCA officials, apart from the low prices of tickets for the non-India games, the newly refurbished Wankhede Stadium has become one of the chief attractions for the spectators. “Though India does not have a single league match at the Wankhede, the newly built stadium in itself has been a major attraction,” they said.
Sunday’s match between New Zealand and Canada was the first international match hosted by the refurbished stadium, since undergoing revamp from mid-2008.
India may not be playing any league match at the Wankhede Stadium but that did not deterred Mumbaikars from coming out in large numbers to witness the high-profile Group A clash between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Mumbai on Friday. Over 23,000 spectators turned out at the 31,000 seating capacity Wankhede Stadium for the Sri Lanka- New Zealand and encounter, thereby erasing any apprehensions about low spectator turnout for non-India games. With no scope for being partisan or biased, the highly vocal crowd applauded and appreciated every aspect of the game — batting, bowling or fielding, a boundary or a wicket.