Tickets website crashes under mad scramble

The website selling just 1,000 tickets for the Cricket World Cup final in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on April 2 crashed seconds after they went on sale on Monday sparking furious complaints from fans.

Tickets were put on sale at 0730 GMT via the International Cricket Council's official ticketing partner but the website buckled under the pressure of huge traffic.

Of the 31,000 seats at the Wankhede Stadium, only 4000 are available to the public - 1000 online while another 3000 will be sold later for those who queue up at stadium box offices.

The rest are distributed among the ICC and clubs affiliated to the Mumbai Cricket Association.

An unnamed source at Yahoo said they were being inundated by complaints from hundreds of fans who were unable to log on to the official ticket agency through a link posted on the popular search engine's website.

With such a small proportion available to the general public in a cricket-crazy country where the population is more than a billion, it is little wonder that there has been a mad scramble for tickets.

With the Indian team living up to their favourite tag by walloping Bangladesh in the opening World Cup match, expectations are high of a home-team success come April 2.

Such is the desperation of fans, even media visiting the city have been under siege for tickets.

As soon as hotel staff, taxi drivers, security guards, corner shop owners and even road sweepers find out media are here to cover the tournament, the first question out of their lips is 'can you please get me a ticket to the final?'

When Reuters tried to log on to more than an hour after the tickets went on sale, the website was still timing out.

"It's the first we've heard about it so we can't comment about it," an ICC spokesman said after being alerted about the problem by Reuters.

Earlier on Monday, ICC chief Haroon Lorgat acknowledged there was 'an unbelievable demand for tickets which clearly outstrips the available supply.

"From the outset it was always going to be near impossible to satisfy the enormous demand for tickets," he said in a statement that was issued only minutes before the tickets went on sale.

"But the Central Organising Committee always wanted to provide as many cricket lovers as possible with an opportunity to experience the World Cup. That is why some tickets are now being made available online."

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