Kolkata: Ardent home fans still mourning India’s exit from the World T20 were divided over who to support in the final, as host city Kolkata geared up for Sunday’s match between England and the West Indies. (Caribbeans Hold All The Aces in Champions vs Champions)
The atmosphere was subdued on Saturday in Kolkata with the home side cooling their heels following their heart-breaking seven-wicket defeat to the Caribbean team in the semis. (History Sides With Calypso Charmers)
The deadly collapse of a partially built flyover three days ago has also cast a pall over the eastern city, as it prepares to host the last match of the tournament at the Eden Gardens stadium. (Destructive Chris Gayle vs Consistent Joe Root, Who Will Win the Clash of Titans?)
The West Indies’ Chris Gayle has been an overwhelming favourite with city fans following his batting exploits with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 tournament.
“It’s disappointing India is out,” said Amit Das, a taxi driver in Kolkata.
“But we expect Gayle to light up Eden with his big-hitting. He has played for KKR so we are with Windies,” he told AFP.
Gayle, the first player to have scored a century in T20 internationals, played for KKR before switching sides to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Whichever team wins will have the distinction of clinching the trophy for a second time, with the West Indies having won the cup in 2012, while England triumphed in 2010.
Sitting on a wall outside the stadium, friends Imran Ahmad and Sanjib Mondal said they would be rooting for Eoin Morgan’s men during the game.
“Obviously we would have been supporting India but because they were knocked out we had to pick another team and we pick England,” said Mondal, 24, who has a ticket for the title contest.
“We like their players. We like Jason Roy, Joe Root, and Eoin Morgan, they’re the best,” Mondal told AFP.
Roy, 25, was the star for England in the semi-final against New Zealand, making 78 off just 44 balls.
Ahmad had no doubt who he would be cheering for come Sunday, although he was still trying to get himself a ticket.
“Lots of other Indians will be supporting the West Indies because of Chris Gayle but we’re different, we want England to win,” beamed Ahmad.
Despite dashed hopes of seeing their home team in the final, organisers were banking on the city’s love for sports and expecting a full stadium for Sunday’s blockbuster.
But not everyone in the city was keen to join the party without the hosts, with some dejected fans contemplating selling off their tickets.
“I saw some people looking to sell off their tickets,” said Raju, a ground attendant who uses only one name.
“But once you have bought them online it’s difficult to sell them.”