Cricket song and dance gets fans united in festive display

Thulani Gqirana

IT was a fun switch of cultures at Axxess St George’s in Port Elizabeth yesterday as men, women and children of different races taught each other dance moves in the stands while South Africa and Pakistan battled it out with bat and ball.

Thousands of South African and Pakistani fans waved flags, danced, stomped and screamed in support of their teams in the thrilling cricket showdown which the Proteas lost by just one run.

While some fans quietly applauded each run, others danced like they were at a ’60s nightclub every time a boundary was scored.

The stadium was filled with a huge number of Pakistani fans brandishing their national flag and wearing the country’s colours.

While many were from Port Elizabeth, a large contingent was from further afield in the Eastern Cape.

Pakistan fan Yousaf Kahn, from Malabar, said he and his party had all had an amazing time at the game.

Mohamed Imran, waving his Pakistan flag, said he had travelled down with 25 friends to watch the game.

“We couldn’t miss it. We drove from Peddie in three double cabs – and this is awesome. We love the atmosphere.”

Motherwell resident Xhanti Scritch said while he was there to support South Africa, he was having loads of fun chanting along with the Pakistanis seated near him.

“We are bonding here. We are supporting different teams, but they support us when we are singing for SA and we do the same when they sing for their team.

“The Pakistani fans sure do create a merry atmosphere.”

Debbie Solomon, of Uitenhage, said she and family members Lauren, Carin, Galiema, Mitch and Fahdiela had made sure they did not have to work so they could be at the game.

“It’s awesome. There are six of us, sitting in different rows and we are having the time of our lives. The R150 for a ticket was totally worth it.”

Solomon said the highlight was bumping into the legendary Graeme Pollock, who had a pavilion at the ground named after him yesterday.

“I couldn’t believe it, after I saw him on TV when they showed the new stand name, then to bump into him. My day was made.”

Fans started coaching from the sidelines as the gap between the number of runs needed to win and the remaining number of balls for South Africa increased.

They hugged and sang along as the band played the national anthem, then started chanting “AB jou lekker ding” as the partnership between AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla passed 100.

The jovial atmosphere continued long after the game was over. EP Cricket’s Leigh Deyzel said about 8573 tickets had been sold.

ýMatch report back page

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