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Pradeep Pattanayak

For those cricket aficionados who are waiting for a ticket to watch and enjoy the high voltage Barabati battle between India and South Africa from the stadium, will get the chance on Thursday as the offline ticket counters will open from tomorrow. Selling of tickets will continue till Friday. 

With preparations for the sale of counter tickets at its last stage, it is expected that cricket lovers will throng the stadium from tonight itself. 

As many as nine counters have been set up--seven for male and the rest two for female fans-- for the forthcoming India-South Africa T20 International match scheduled to be played on June 12. While a total of 12,000 tickets will be sold through counters, the norm for selling of ticket is ‘two tickets per buyer’.

While 5,000 tickets have already been sold off through online, 8,000 tickets have been sold to clubs, schools and other organisations associated with the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA). 

“A spectator has to produce his/her identity card at the counter. A spectator can’t buy more than two tickets,” informed the Secretary of OCA, Sanjay Behera.

Informing about the arrangements to maintain law and order situation at the stadium, DCP, Cuttack, Pinak Mishra said, “It will be ensured that people buy tickets in queues. We expect at least 20,000 to 25,000 people to throng tomorrow and keeping it in view, 10 platoon police forces will be deployed near the stadium.”

“I had missed the last match held at Barabati Stadium. I don’t want to miss it this time. I will wait for the counters to open from tonight,” said a cricket lover. 

Another cricket lover echoed the same. 

Meanwhile, the preparations at the Stadium and Hotel Mayfair, where the players would stay, are at their last stages.

While the entire stadium, starting from horse gate to the dressing room, from pitch to pavilion and from entry gate to clock tower, has been given fresh coats of colour, the hotel is ready to welcome its guests. 

All the rooms have already been booked from June 10 to 13. The hotel authorities have meanwhile received a letter from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) directing them to prepare low calorie diet and protein rich food for the players and supporting staff. 

The hotel staff will provide services while strictly following Covid-19 guidelines. Those who have received double doses of vaccine will be engaged for this. 

“We have hosted Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul before. However, the rest of the team members are new for us. We are ready to serve palatable cuisines to them,” said president of Hotel MayFair, Manoj Gouda. 

“We expect while the Indian team will go for Indian cuisines, the South African team will love continental items,” added Gouda. 

The Commissionerate Police are also working on preparations to ensure safety and smooth traffic flow. 

“We have had discussions regarding the smooth conduct of the match. Our focus will be to secure their reception, transit and stay at hotel,” said Bhubaneswar DCP Prateek Singh. 

Notably, while Indian team is visiting Odisha once every two years, the South Africa team is visiting Odisha after a gap of seven years. Last time, the team visited the State in 2015. And 2015 was the year when both the teams confronted each other at Barabati Stadium. It was the first T20 match played at the stadium and South Africa had trounced India by seven wickets.

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