With archrivals India and Pakistan set to clash in the World Cup semi-finals here, prices of all tickets for the big match have soared in the black market.
While a Rs.250 ticket is now being sold on the sly for Rs.2,000 and even more, Rs.500 tickets are available for Rs.4,000. And a Rs.1,000 ticket can only be bought - believe it or not - for as high as Rs.6,500-7,000.
This is now. By the time India and Pakistan take on one another March 30, the prices may go up further.
The reasons are not far to seek.
"Everyone waits for an India-Pakistan match. It is nothing less than war fought on the border. Ticket rates have risen up exceptionally after India won the match against Australia," a man selling tickets in the black told IANS.
India crushed Australia by five wickets in Ahmedabad Thursday to send the world champions out of the tournament.
The man behind the Indian victory was Yuvraj Singh, a local hero in Mohali. India and Pakistan will play in floodlights at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium.
The Pakistani team will reach here on Friday. Scores of security personnel have been deployed in and around hotel Taj where the Pakistanis will stay.
"Earlier also people were buying tickets in black from us but we were making only a few hundred rupees on each ticket," said an engineering student. "Now the situation is different."
He said he bought around 100 tickets on the very first day of the ticket sales - and now they were in great demand.
Punjab Police are aware of the widespread black-marketing.
"It is a problem and many cricket lovers will suffer due to this. We will try our level best to check black marketing of tickets," Mohali district police chief Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said.
"Our officials will be deployed in plain clothes around the stadium and at various other locations to catch the black marketeers," he added.
But this is easier said than done.
Moaned college student Anmol Sharma: "It is very frustrating as I stood in the queue for over six hours but did not get the tickets.
"But I found at least six black marketeers outside the stadium. How can PCA give away tickets in bulk to a single individual?"
PCA officials say they can't do much.
"Our preparations are going on in full swing for this match. We cannot do anything directly in case of black marketing," said G.S. Walia, joint secretary of PCA.
"People came, stood in queues and bought tickets. Now if they sell them to anybody else in black, how can we keep a track? It is not under our control," he said.
"But there will be enough security checks to ensure the genuineness of tickets."
The Mohali stadium is considered one of the most ultra-modern in India. It has a pitch with a reputation for being lively and supporting to both batsmen and pace bowlers. It was built in 1992, and can easily accommodate 28,000 spectators.
This World Cup, it has hosted two league matches.
Story first published:
March 25, 2011 16:04 IST