What started as a treat to their eyes had ended with tears. As the dusk decorated the ambience, the faces of the fans went dull after the result started to emerge. Yes, the fans who experienced an electrifying atmosphere near the blues while they cheered for the men-in-blue during the world cup final match left from there with deep disappointments.
The Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), along with the support of the Greater Chennai Corporation, had perhaps for the first time set up fan booths at Marina and Besant Nagar beaches in Chennai. While these two places usually pull more people during the weekends, they saw an overwhelming crowd on Sunday - November 19 as fans gathered to watch the One Day International (ODI) Cricket World Cup's summit clash between India and Australia.
The finals of the current edition of the World Cup held at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad and India, which remained invincible through this tourney, had massive expectations from millions of fans to lift the title for the third time. The formidable batting line-up and the team's overall performance sparked an unanimous mood across the nation that India deserves to win the title.
Given the fact that India had already defeated Australia in the league, it gave an added advantage for Team India while Australia prepared to hunt down the host. In Chennai, big screens were installed by the SDAT at Marina and Besant Nagar beaches and thousands of fans had rubbed their shoulders as they cheered for the Indian team before a big screen.
As India batted first, the batsmen had a greater wave of cheer from the fans and at the end, India put up 240 runs on the board. Chasing the feasible target, Australia had built a momentum despite losing wickets at regular interval. When the match began to go under Australia's counter, the dusk-filled ambience looked more dull and when Australia won the final by defeating India, the beaches ultimately went dark.
As the men-in-blue's loss became a bolt from the blue, thousands of fans had broken down in tears. Several fans expressed that they came before the big screens with the hope that India will win the title but after the result, they said that they are very disheartened. One of the fans said that though Indian team had lost the finals, they won all other matches consistenly and the Indian team has been the most successful this season.
Chennai, which is known for its trait of appreciating the rivals, had witnessed its fans applauding to Australia's batsman Travis Head when he scored a century and he was instrumental for Australia to win the title for the record sixth time. Interestingly, though the fans were disppointed and broken in tears, the Chennai crowd had shown its healthy sporting spirit as several fans bursted crackers when Australia won the finals.
The Greater Chennai Corporation has reported that while Marina Beach had seen the attendance of over 3,000 people, the Besant Nagar Beach had more than 2,000 people on its shores. Speaking to The Hindu, a fan named Guru Krishnakumar, who came to the Besant Nagar Beach to watch the match, said that the match was worth watching on a large screen. Another fan from Porur said that he and his colleagues stayed on at Besant Nagar Beach to watch the match.
He said, "This is a nice spot to watch matches. There is good food available and with the sea breeze, it is a fun spot. The Corporation should arrange large screens at more locations, like local grounds and parks for tournaments and matches such as IPL. This would motivate more people to take up sports." Chennai Corporation Commissioner J Radhakrishnan said that this big-screening of the finals was done at the suggestion of Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin.
"We have had very good responses at both locations. Cities all over the world have such spaces for the public to watch matches and music events", Radhakrishnan added. Like many firsts in the Indian cricket team, such big-screening of matches on the beaches is also a first-of-its-kind and as India lost the much-expected World Cup, the shores of the beaches witnessed a sea of tear from the disappointed fans.
Cracker celebration at #Marina Beach for Australia win. #Chennai crowd was sad but they still gave a standing ovation for Aussies’ victory and a send off with cracker celebrations. Over 3000 people gathered to watch the match at Marina beach today. #INDvAUS #CricketWorldCup2023 pic.twitter.com/2AglLvcDpe— Omjasvin M D (@omjasvinTOI) November 19, 2023
It is nothing like watching the #Cricket #WorldcupFinal with friends, that too on our beaches in #Chennai!— Greater Chennai Corporation (@chennaicorp) November 19, 2023
More than2000 people have gathered to enjoy the #CricketWorldCup together in Bessy. Over3000 #Chennaiites have gathered in #MarinaBeach to watch #CWC23. #ChennaiCorporation pic.twitter.com/0ot6xWFJRq