It was around 1.45 when we reached Chepauk stadium. Since it's not IPL and a neutral game, we didn't expect much of a crowd but to our surprise the crowd was almost on par to an Indian game. After failing to secure tickets to IND vs AUS game at chepauk, this Pakistan Afghanistan game, the ashes of the Asians turned out to be the best consolation for us.
Firstly, I can strongly say the chennai crowd was one of the few stadiums where Pakistan would have felt very welcomed. Be it the acknowledgement of the players to appreciation of pakistan's game to even the simple cheer for the fielders fielding at the boundary line, it was great from the crowd.
I personally was in a dilemma as I wanted Afghanistan to win but at the same time a Pakistan loss meant the chances of Australia brightened which I didn't want to happen as well.
We were a bit disappointed as we wanted to get Afghanistan's jersey outside the stadium but to our misfortune, only Pakistan jersey were being sold. Also, it was funny a lot of people turned up in India and CSK jersey.
I was surprised to see Afghan natives in the audience who came all the way to watch the game and so were the Pakistanis. Only if BCCI had opened the schedule earlier, the foreign crowd could have been more.
Afghanistan are no longer a minnow which is already becoming a fact and we were glad to witness a testimony to the fact. They played a proper standard cricket like any national teams would play, be it any department.
They were literally on fire on the field, the fielders didn't drop a single catch and the ground fielding was terrific which saved at least 20-30 runs.
The 4 spinner strategy for Afghanistan worked well as they kept Pakistan in check with regular wickets. While I was slightly disappointed to not witness Rashid Khan take any wicket, I was mighty impressed with Noor Ahmed who seems to be destined for greatness.
At the end of the first innings, our hopes of Afghanistan win were less as the target was a daunting one and the Pakistan pacers would be tough for the Afghans. But Gurbaz, Ibrahim, Rahmat and Shahidi put on a chasing masterclass.
Pakistan has only themselves to blame for the loss. For a team that's been playing cricket for several decades now, their fielding was poorer than a college cricket team. It was the most comical thing in the stadium that brought cheer that any boundary or wicket couldn't.
The pitch had enough turn but it wasn't much slow as the batters found it pretty easy to bat on. All they had to do was bat sensibly which all the Afghan batters did and only Babar Azam in Pakistan did.
The DJ in the stadium did a great job in keeping the audience engaged, albeit being borderline cringe. The songs played in the stadium were mostly of Anirudh's songs, another proof of Ani era.
Hands have reddened over continuous claps which made driving back 25+ kms in bike a bit tedious. Such was the overall experience.
A historic win for Afghanistan, a memorable day for the audience aka me.