• Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Traffic halted in Mumbai as India’s World Cup winners do victory parade

As per the itinerary shared by the officials, the two-hour open bus parade began from the National Centre for Performing Arts in Nariman Point till the city’s iconic Wankhede Stadium.

Fans gather at the Marine Drive seafront in Mumbai as they greet the Indian cricket team in Mumbai on July 4, 2024, after it won the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Barbados, West Indies. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE victory parade of the T20 World Cup-winning Indian team was delayed by two hours on Thursday (4) as complete crowd chaos along the stretch of in the southern part of the city of Mumbai brought the traffic to a halt after Rohit Sharma and his men reached India’s ‘Maximum City’ a little after 5 pm local time.

As per the itinerary shared by the officials, the two-hour open bus parade started from the National Centre for Performing Arts in Nariman Point till the city’s iconic Wankhede Stadium started a little after 7:30 pm as the city’s stretch along the Marine Drive touching the Arabian Sea was drowned in an ‘Ocean of Humanity’.

The scenes reminded one of a similar parade which the Indian side had done in the city in 2007 after clinching its first T20 World Cup crown under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Read: Modi doesn’t touch T20 World Cup trophy while clicking pictures with cricketers, wins hearts

Mumbai traffic comes to standstill as India's T20 World Cup-winning squad does a victory parade
Fans gather at the Marine Drive seafront in the western Indian city of Mumbai as they await the arrival of the Indian cricket team on July 4, 2024, after winning the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Barbados. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Indian team could only fly from New Delhi around 3:42 pm local time after a breakfast meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi, having returned from Barbados in the wee hours on Thursday morning. The cricketers reached the national capital after remaining stranded in the West Indies due to a severe hurricane — Beryl.

Read: Modi meets India’s World Cup-winning cricketers in Delhi

The Wankhede Stadium was thrown open to fans, who filled up the stands within minutes to celebrate the Indian cricket team’s title triumph last Saturday (29) when they beat South Africa by seven runs.

After arriving in the city, Sharma’s team and its support staff made their way to the southern tip of the city which houses the Wankhede Stadium.

But not before their aircraft — a Vistara flight — got the famous ‘Water Salute’ after arriving at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport’s Terminal 2 in Mumbai.

The players walked out of the airport with a sea of fans and media waiting for them for several hours.

It was at the same Wankhede where India had won their last 50-over World Cup in 2011. The venue’s stands got filled to the brim by passionate fans as thousand others waited outside the gates which were closed around 5:00pm.

As the gates closed amid intermittent rain, extreme humidity and chaos of several thousand people arriving in the vicinity, those fortunate ones who were able to find their places inside Wankhede remained fixated to their seats even if there was scarcity of food and water.

As the fans ran in all directions to take their places in the stands amid a heavy burst of rain, several pairs of footwear got left behind in the rush while debris of all kind was also thrown around along the way.

While the wait extended, rain kept pelting down with breaks but it could not force the fans off their seats inside the stadium.

The DJ kept entertaining with songs of all genres and at one instance it felt like Wankhede was hosting a rain-dance party with the stadium’s speakers blurting out Vengaboys’ party hit ‘To Brazil’ and country’s unofficial sports anthem “Chak de India”.

Soon after, Wankhede came alive with its customary chants of ‘Sachin… Sachin’ followed by ‘Mumbaicha Raja, Rohit Sharma!’ and ‘India… India’.

(With PTI inputs)

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