Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moses Mabhida set for emotional Ntini farewell

The cricket is going to be a sideshow to the festivities. It's Makhaya Ntini's farewell match, which is enough to charge the occasion with emotion. Sachin Tendulkar is going to be honoured for continued contribution to the progress of cricket. The match also forms part of the commemoration of 150 years of Indians in South Africa and tribute will also be paid to the South African team who toured India in 1991. All that will end with a Bollywood extravaganza.
It's a magical stage for such an occasion. The Moses Mabhida Stadium, best recognised by its arch, has been talked up as one of the most beautiful venues built for the Football World Cup. It's doesn't have the dimensions of an international cricket field and the straight boundaries are particularly short, which means boundary hitting may be the order of the day.
The pitch, which was laid the day after the World Cup semi-final on 7 July between Spain and Germany, may not be singing the same tune. It's rumoured to sustain only knee-high bounce and is quite slow. During a practice match in mid-December, players said they found cutters to be effective but not the short ball.
The match has been sold out with over 50,000 fans expected to pack into the stadium. It will be the biggest attendance for a cricket match on the African continent.

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