I’ve always grown up around cricket, especially as a child. My dad used to play it when he was younger and into adulthood, and even coached the national South African team for several years (as their bowling coach). I remember as a little girl going to his games, but I mainly spent my time running around the field and catching up to mischief ;). Since then, I’ve been to my share of test matches, ODIs and T20s all over South Africa (and some parts of the Caribbean!), so when my dad let me know he was going to set up tickets for us to go to the World Cup match between South Africa and India at the iconic MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), we both were really excited! A few months back, you may have remembered that Will and I first went to the MCG for an AFL game, which was really fun. I’m a big fan of ODIs, as it’s packed full of action – and this game was no exception! Not to mention the atmosphere was unlike anything we’d experienced before. I’d say usually test matches are quite fun and can be loud, but certainly not as fast-paced as ODIs and T20s (in my experience, at least!)
The match started at 2:30pm, but we *thought* we’d be all right getting into the game around 2ish, but there were people everywhere whom I suppose also had the same logic as we did, ha! The total attendance was somewhere around 87,000 and the stadium was completely sold out – kinda crazy! We had a fantastic view of the pitch, and had enough overhang above us to shield us from any weather changes (this is Melbourne, after all ;)). It was very hot that day (97°F / 36°C), but the shade was very welcomed, and some cool breezes! We certainly felt outnumbered, as I’d say about 90% of the fans present were Indian, and a handful of South Africans scattered throughout the stadium; so, whenever we saw a South African, we’d smile and greet one another. The Indian fans came with various signs, outfits and instruments and were very passionate and excitable – I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an energetic group of fans. They sure do love their cricket!
It was pretty awesome being around some South Africans again! For Will and I, it felt like a piece of home, as we consider Cape Town as one of our homes :) We also sat with a few Capetonians and Durbanites, who were so kind and welcoming; we chatted throughout the game, shared some high fives when we got wickets while India was batting, and even shared food! It was such a wonderful time. Even though South Africa ended up losing by 130 runs, the time we were able to spend with new friends and fellow South Africans really made it a special day! Also, so proud of our boys and the valiant effort they put in. Really hoping we go far in this World Cup!
Also, the fan walk to the stadium was so cool! There is a pathway leading directly from the city to the MCG, and is quite scenic with the beautiful skyline to your left, and the Yarra River and Birrarung Marr (a park) to the right. There was also an outdoor seating area with a *huge* screen broadcasting the match for anyone unable to make it to the match, complete with reclining chairs! We might make it down to the fan zone next time SA plays. I grabbed a photo on the way home, as they had set up these beautiful, giant glowing cricket balls to light the path to the fan zone, and I was all googly-eyed over them and wanted to take one home! — see below!
Thank you so much to my dad for the tickets and organizing a wonderful day for us! This is definitely an experience for the memory book, and we have the ticket stubs on our fridge. :) and thanks to everyone at the match who made it such a fun time – we really felt like a piece of SA was there with us <3