As Team India conquered the reigning World Cup champions Australia in a big-ticket clash on Sunday, all stands at the Oval were swathed in blue.
Thousands of Indian supporters, including lovers of the game among the Malayali diaspora in the UK, started swarming the iconic stadium right from early morning. There was a mad scramble when the venue gates were finally opened, taking in thousands of enthusiastic fans.
Bharat Army - Team India’s top global support group in London - created a festive atmosphere inside the stadium with their drum beats and chants. Among the crowd were hundreds of Keralite cricket fans living across the UK who were seen carrying the tri-colour and wearing blue T-shirts and caps.
Biju Mathew and his brother Aloysius, who hail from Kattappana in Idukki, came to the stadium with their families to cheer on Virat Kohli’s men. There were many like them, who had come from different parts of England. C K Rasheed, another ardent cricket fan and a businessman based in Kottayam, has not missed a single match involving India so far.
The partisan crowd went into raptures as India started batting after winning the toss. Every single and boundary were lustily cheered. The Indian fans made sure the decibel levels hit the roof when Australia were all out for 316 runs in the final ball of the match chasing India's 352, and returned home happy getting their money’s worth.