Cricket live at a cinema near you…

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LAHORE – Pakistan’s cricket fans have now a great opportunity to entertain themselves with the city’s main cinemas showing ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2011’s knockout matches on big screen. Spectators were happy that, having been denied the right to host the Cricket World Cup, they could experience an ‘extraordinary’ atmosphere by watching matches live in cinemas.
Cinemas including DHA, Cinestar and Sozo World have started advance bookings for the matches of the CWC. It is pertinent to mention here that no new Bollywood movie is scheduled to release during the World Cup and cinemas were making do by showing old movies. Citizens claim that watching matches in cinemas is as close as they can get to mirroring the atmosphere of a stadium.
Cafes and restaurants in the city have also arranged the big screens and special meal packages during the knockout matches. DHA and Cinestar cinemas are selling the tickets at Rs 1000, whereas Sozoworld fortress officials told Pakistan Today that their tickets would range from Rs 250 to 300 and said people were showing a lot of interest in watching matches at cinemas and therefore they want to make the most out of the matches.
A die-hard cricket fan Ahsan Saleh said that he never missed an international match in the Qaddafi Stadium Lahore, but he was forced to go the cinemas, as there was no other option. He said that though he can afford to go to Sri Lanka but it was impossible for him to leave his job for several days. “Our quarter final is on 23rd March, which is a holiday and the citizens will definitely rush to the cinema halls,” he said.
“Watching matches in an electric atmosphere would really be a great fun and watching our team taking wickets and stroking fours and sixes on a big screen will spice the atmosphere up,” he said. He claimed that stadium like atmosphere would attract fans and they will never hesitate to put money into supporting their cricket team.
Citizens lauded the efforts of cinema owners and said that at last they learnt a lesson from Indian cinemas who had been showing live IPL matches. They said that once Qaddafi Stadium Lahore was the liveliest area of the city but its deserted look today was disappointing cricket enthusiasts.
Citizens asked the cinema authorities to make the stadium like atmosphere in the cinemas; saying they would be going to cinemas holding Pakistani flags and placards. They claimed that no one could stop them from shouting and chanting slogans in favour of their team. They said load-shedding is also a great hurdle to watch the matches in the homes and the cinema’s load-shedding free services would be a blessing for the citizens.
Cricket fan Aamir Baig said that Pakistan team’s excellent performance in the CWC has also tempted the public to go to cinemas. He further said the memory of the attack on Srilankan team was the worst moment of Pakistan Cricket and that Pakistan could depict it’s love for the sport by winning the World Cup. “It shall force cricket back into our country,” he said.