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Fans Slam ‘Mostly Silent’ Crowd At India-Australia World Cup Title Clash

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Rows of empty seats and an overwhelming silence signaled the end of the Cricket World Cup 2023 in the same manner as it had begun.

Long before Australia scored the winning runs in Sunday’s final, fans began to leave the Narendra Modi Stadium in the western state of Gujarat, India.

The Australians have now won the championship six times. A dream came to an end for the hosts, India, who advanced to the final after ten straight wins.

“I was quite excited about the match as it was my first time watching India at the World Cup, but it just wasn’t our day,” Sriraj Namboodiri told Al Jazeera from Ahmedabad over telephone.

In the cricket-mad country of South Asia, people had been talking about the much-awaited final as they flocked to eateries, bars, and cafes to watch the match between Australia and India.

However, thousands of spectators in the stadium with a capacity of over 100,000 started to leave their seats before the game ended, casting a regretful image following India’s faultless run to the final as the players faltered and stared at defeat.

“The crowd at the stadium was really bad. I didn’t enjoy the experience,” said Namboodiri, who had come to watch the game with his brother from Mumbai.

“Had the match been in Chennai or Mumbai, most fans would have stayed back until the end for the presentation ceremony. After all, this was a World Cup final, the biggest match in world cricket and it was happening on our home soil.

“As a cricket fan, you would stay. If you’re leaving, it’s only because you are a fake fan.”

A top-tier Indian football team’s communications specialist, Annujj Palaye, said it was “understandable” that Indian fans left early, but he was more disappointed in the crowd’s inability to support India through difficult times.

“It’s a beautiful stadium and makes for a great setting, which is probably why it was chosen for the final. But it didn’t seem like India had a home advantage,” Palaye said.

“The crowd was pumped up in the first 10 overs of both the innings, but for the largest part, it was mostly silent.”

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