Bangalore, Dec 25 (IANS) Thousands of frenzied fans flocked to the Chinnaswamy stadium, the fortress-turned venue of the India-Pakistan T20, forming serpentine queues hours before the match got underway.
With all tickets sold out and complimentary passes doled out in hundreds, the 35,600-strong stadium turned into a carnival amphitheatre on Christmas day even as excitement built up for a long wintry night.
As the bilateral series between the two neighbouring countries resumed after five years with the blessings of the respective governments and the cricketing boards, the city police are not taking any chance in maintaining law and order and preventing any untoward incident.
"As maintaining law and order and providing security are our primary duty, we will take stern action against anyone trying to disrupt the match," city police commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji told IANS at the stadium.
Taking over the stadium for sanitising and securing it from any potential threat Sunday, the state police have deployed about 3,000 personnel in and around the venue, with a bomb squad and a dog squad on prowl to sniff out any explosive material or life-threatening objects.
"As the governments of both the countries have agreed to hold the bilateral series, none will be allowed to take law into hands. Those having valid tickets or passes are welcome to watch and enjoy the match but not cause any disturbance," Mirji asserted.
In addition to heavy deployment, a round-the-clock surveillance has been put in place, with closed circuit televisions (CCTV) sets installed in and around the stadium, the players' bus route and the hotel they are put up.
"Vehicular traffic has been restricted and parking banned a km in and around the stadium till midnight. About 1,000 police personnel, including sleuths in plainclothes have been deployed in the vicinity to maintain vigil and weed out trouble-makers," Mirji pointed out.
To prevent any disruption and unruly behaviour in the stands during the match, fans were not allowed to take articles like bags, cameras, food packets and even water bottles.
"We have set up a three-layer security ring to frisk fans more than once at the entrance to ensure they do not carry any harmful object into the stands. Drinking water is arranged in the stadium," Mirji noted.
The stringent security measures have been taken in the backdrop of two low-intensity blasts outside the stadium April 17, 2010 before IPL T20 league tie between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI) began.
Though there was no death, eight persons, including three policemen were injured in the incident.
Pakistan is playing in India for the first time post-26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Last time Pakistan played in Bangalore was Dec 8-12, 2007 when the Third Test was drawn.
The previous occasion the two teams met was in the ICC T20 World Cup Sept 30, 2012 in Colombo when India won by eight wickets.
Earlier this year, India beat Pakistan at Mirpur in Bangladesh March 18 by six wickets in Asia Cup.
Last time India and Pakistan played an ODI in Bangalore was April 4, 1999 when India lost by 123 runs.
In an ICC ODI World Cup, played in Bangalore March 9, 1996, India beat Pakistan by 39 runs.