Excitement Soars as India-Pakistan ICC World Cup Cricket Match Tickets Fetch Sky-High Prices

Cricbuzzteam report, Nikhil Wadhwani’s decision to purchase a ticket for the highly anticipated India versus Pakistan match at the Men’s Cricket World Cup is turning out to be the former derivatives trader’s best bet ever.

The 32-year-old Mumbai native, now employed at a fintech company, acquired a 2,500 rupee ($30) ticket for Saturday’s match in August. However, after a change of plans, he opted to resell the ticket on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, and fetched 22,000 rupees for it.

“I was absolutely shocked to see the demand,” expressed Wadhwani, who used to work on Nomura Holdings Inc.’s trading desk in India’s financial capital. “I received a flurry of messages with offers much larger than I expected.”

Wadhwani’s experience is a testament to the fervor surrounding the showdown between these two political and sporting rivals during the World Cup, which India is hosting once again after a 12-year gap. When the two teams face off at Ahmedabad’s colossal Narendra Modi Stadium, renamed two years ago after the country’s sitting prime minister, it will mark the first time in seven years that Pakistan competes on Indian soil.

The sport stands as one of the last remaining channels of interaction between the neighboring nations, whose relationship has historically been adversarial but has deteriorated further since India’s launch of cross-border strikes in 2019 following attacks in the disputed region of Kashmir by Pakistan-based militants.

Actors from Pakistan are also banned from India’s Bollywood films, and its cricketers are not allowed to participate in the premier Indian Premier League. The match provides a rare opportunity for fans to witness Pakistan players in the flesh, even though the team and fans have faced delays in obtaining Indian visas.

“These matches don’t happen often enough,” remarked Aditya Chidurala, a tech worker based in San Francisco who secured tickets to at least five games, including the India-Pakistan clash. “They are arch-rivals, and fans are super passionate about it.”

Some desperate fans splurged on what they believed were last-minute tickets, only to discover later that the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the country’s governing body for the sport, had been holding back tickets. The organization announced the sale of an unspecified number of tickets on Wednesday and, on Sunday, offered 14,000 passes.

One such fan was Perumandla Vamshi Krishna from Telangana, who purchased two tickets in September for around 170,000 rupees from a secondary ticketing platform, after the official one indicated that the game was sold out. The tickets newly offered on Sunday were selling for a mere 1% of what the 28-year-old had paid.

The ticketing process has contributed to broader complaints about the World Cup. Seats for the India-Afghanistan match on Wednesday went on sale just a day before, and those for India’s opening game on Saturday against Australia were made available once again in a last-minute sale that morning.

Meanwhile, the official ticketing website still indicates that tickets for upcoming India matches that haven’t been released are “coming soon.”

“It reflects poorly on the overall management of the tournament,” stated Neeraj Kumar, a former police chief and head of the anti-corruption unit of India’s cricketing body. “The sale should have been done in a timely manner.” The BCCI did not respond to a request for comment.

Nevertheless, some fans argue that they relish the chase for tickets and that the last-minute sales have increased their chances.

“We now have multiple chances to view these matches,” said Kartik Kannan, a Bengaluru-based product manager who runs a WhatsApp group for fans called “Team India’s 12th Man Army,” a reference to the cricketing term used for a reserve player.

The lack of transparency regarding ticket sales, however, means cricket enthusiasts must go the extra mile to stay informed. Chidurala in San Francisco had asked his friends in India to wake him up at any hour as soon as they see tickets go on sale.

“It is serious business,” Chidurala said.

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