Manchester

Cricket World Cup: India v Pakistan in Manchester prompts huge crowds

Pakistan and India fans Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pakistan versus India is billed as one of the biggest matches in cricket

Thousands of cricket fans will head to Manchester this weekend ahead of the World Cup clash between India and Pakistan.

Armed police will be part of a huge policing operation as the two countries face off at Old Trafford on Sunday.

It is one of sport's biggest games and bitterest rivalries which is likely to draw a global television audience of one billion.

More than 700,000 people applied for tickets to the game.

The two countries rarely play outside of major tournaments due to political tensions.

Image copyright Reuters

Manchester Airport said an extra ten private jets were due to arrive this weekend as fans from all over the world head to the city.

Lancashire Cricket Club's Business Manager, Warren Hegg, told the BBC: "It's probably one of the biggest games in cricket.

"Cricket is life in that part of the world and both sets of fans are really fanatical about the game...the atmosphere is gong to be electric."

Due to the overwhelming interest in the game, a fan zone - which can hold up to 3,500 people - has been established in Cathedral Gardens where the match can be viewed on a big screen.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Matches between the two sides are often charged with jingoism

Both sides have large British fan-bases, meaning the 25,000 capacity Old Trafford ground was sold out almost instantly.

But Rakesh Patel - who set up The Bharat Army in 1999 - is one of the lucky few with a ticket.

"We have been waiting over four years for this match. It's the biggest match in cricket," he said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption India's match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge was abandoned

But the weather could be a factor, as showers are expected on Sunday.

Mr Patel added: "Hopefully the rain will stay away and we will get a result."

Ch Supt Graeme Openshaw said armed police would be among the increased amount of officers deployed around Old Trafford and in the city.

He added: "Expect firm, fair and friendly policing. We are not out to spoil your fun, but we will not tolerate criminal behaviour. "

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