Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India] : Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who arrived in Ahmedabad earlier on Sunday to attend the World Cup final between India and Australia, said he was hopeful that the hosts would lift the coveted trophy for the third time in its cricketing history.
The final between the two-time champions and the five-time winners will be staged at the Narendra Modi Stadium, which is acknowledged as the biggest cricketing arena in the world.
Speaking to reporters on his arrival at the Ahmedabad airport on Sunday, the ‘Master Blaster’ said, ‘I have come here to extend my good wishes. Hopefully, the Indian team will prevail against Australia and lift the World Cup for the third time. The fans have been eagerly awaiting this day and I fervently hope that the prayers of a billion-plus citizens will be answered today.’
Meanwhile, excitement started building around the Narendra Modi Stadium as fans from all over the country gathered outside the arena, praying and wishing that the hosts pip the five-time champions to their second world title in the 50-over format.
Excited fans, with posters of their cricketing demigods and faces painted in the Tricolour, were spotted gathering around the stadium ahead of the Cup finale.
A fan, clad in an Indian jersey, told, ‘We are all here for Team India today. We have come all the way from Chennai to cheer for our beloved team in their march to the title. I am confident that it will be (India skipper) Rohit Sharma, who will be holding aloft the trophy when the final is done and dusted. We will avenge our loss in the 2003 final today.’
Another fan said, ‘I was excited about this tournament and our prospects from the very beginning. I am sure India will win the final today.’
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, some cricket-mad people performed a special Aarti at Shree Siddhivinayak temple of Pune to pray for India’s victory at the World Cup final against Australia on Sunday.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.