India-Pakistan match brings life to halt in subcontinent

India-Pakistan match brings life to halt in subcontinent
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel celebrate as they watch a live broadcast of the Cricket World Cup match between Indian and Pakistan at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border Post on February 15, 2015.

NEW DELHI - If there is one thing that can bring life to a virtual standstill in the Asian subcontinent, it is undoubtedly a cricket match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. So it was not unusual for streets, shops, and bus and train stations to appear deserted on Feb. 15 when the two teams slugged it out at their first league match of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2015.

The eagerly-awaited contest -- in which India scored an emphatic 76-run win over Pakistan on the Adelaide Oval ground in Australia -- is believed to have been watched by 1.5 billion TV viewers around the world, the biggest audience ever for a cricket match, not including the thousands of fans at the jam-packed venue. Tickets for the match were sold out within minutes and fans were seen in Indian blue and Pakistani green jerseys, waving their national flags furiously.

Melbourne resident Natasha Chaku, who travelled to Adelaide with family and friends to watch the match, said there were nearly 42,000 people at the stadium, most of them Indians. "Though India ended up winning the contest, fans from both countries showed no hostility toward each other. It was an amicable atmosphere. Some Indians and Pakistanis chatted and sang together. Bollywood numbers also played in the stadium during the match," she told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Chaku, who rode back to Melbourne on Monday, said the streets were full of people from the subcontinent. "It seemed as if I was in India," she said.

Team spirit

Cricket enthusiasts took to social media to express their views on the match and share experiences. Some said they managed slip away to attend family functions and other events, following the action on TV.

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