Bangalore: The World Cup excitement will begin on Sunday with India playing their first warmup match against Australia here.
It's a big Sunday for Bangloreans with the concluding day of the aeroshow coinciding with the India match.
Thousands of Bangaloreans, many with children in tow, will head north of the city centre in the morning to see choppers to fighter jets weave breathtaking designs in the sky as curtains come down on the AeroIndia 2011 at the sprawling Yelahanka air base.
Hundreds of them will be rushing back to city, many heading to the Chinnaswamy stadium, and many more to their homes not to miss a ball of India-Australia warmup match ahead of the World Cup starting Feb 19.
Though a warmup match, a sell out crowd is expected to fill the 50,000-seat stadium in the heart of the city, flanked by the famed Cubbon Park on one side and the prestigious M.G. Road, a popular youth hang out, on the other.
Only a few tickets for the Pavilion and Corporate box costing Rs.4,000 each are available to be picked up. All other tickets - from Rs. 250 to Rs. 3,200 each - have been bought by the cricket lovers.
The warm-up match is day and night affair, with the temperature going down along with the sun and becoming really chilly as night descends. These days, the maximum temperature hovers around 30 degrees Celsius and the minimum around 14 degrees.
But the nearly 50,000 spectators in the stadium may hardly feel the drop in the mercury as the run chase would be in full swing.
The enthusiasm for the warmup match is understandable as India figures only in two of five World Cup matches here, one of which against England.
The fans may not find other World Cup matches at the Chinnaswamy stadium as thrilling because England will be playing Ireland on March 2 and Australia will fight it out with Kenya March 13 and Canada March 16.
Ahead of Sunday's clash, both India and Australia have been rigorously practicing at the National Cricket Academy facilities adjacent to the stadium.
The Indian team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni started the preparations Feb 9 and Ricky Ponting-led Australians Feb 10.
The AeroIndia show turned out to be a great stage-setter for the cricket fever.
The aero show organizers expect around 275,000 people would have seen the static and flying display of over 100 military and civil aircraft, including 47 foreign planes and different helicopters before the show concludes on Sunday.
Similarly, about 70,000 business delegates from 70 countries would have made a beeline to the military and civil aviation trade show spread over 75,000 square metres.
AeroIndia 2011 was the largest ever hosted by the country with about 675 exhibitors, including 380 from 29 countries and 295 domestic firms participating in the five-day trade expo to showcase the latest aerospace technologies and products for Indian and international markets.
The Chinnaswamy stadium also has its share of history as the venue for 12 Test matches and 10 One-day Internationals including 2 World Cup matches (1987,1996).
The Karnataka State Cricket Association, now led by ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble, has plans to increase the seating capacity to 70,000 and enhance facilities for spectators across the stadium.
Such a capacity is needed as Bangalore's population has grown exponentially since the stadium was built over 25 years ago. The city now has nearly 80 million people.