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Described as “the match of the century” by Pakistani press and the “mother of all matches” in the media worldwide, Indian traders and financiers in Mumbai and Karachi have stopped work early today to make sure they can wach India’s cricket World Cup semi-final against Pakistan.In Pakistan, the Karachi Stock Exchange closed an hour-and-a-half early, Bloomberg reported. Government employees were allowed to take the afternoon off.
“The market has virtually gone to sleep at the moment, all eyes are on the TV screens,” a Mumbai-based VP that oversees rates trading at ICICI told Bloomberg.
According to the LA Times:
Many companies in both countries declared Wednesday as a half day. The Karachi stock exchange plans to put a big screen up for traders to watch. Lawmakers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar have petitioned their government to suspend legislative business during match time.
“This is a more important event than any other event for Pakistan this year,” said Omar Ehtisham Anwar, a fund manager at Faysal Asset Management in Karachi who has taken the day off to watch the match. “There is no way I would miss even a second of this match — I will try to not even blink during the game.”
The game between the nuclear neighbours is the first in India since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which were carried out by Pakistani nationals.
The authors of a book called “IPL Cricket & Commerce: An Inside Story,” explains the intensity of the game today to Bloomberg:
“This is different from the U.S. Super Bowl — this match has politics, nationalism and the history of the partition. When India and Pakistan play a cricket match, both countries are completely transfixed. The streets will be empty when the game is on.”
Meanwhile, here’s what a few firms are doing to watch the two teams go head-to-head:
- Standard Chartered put up screens to show the match in its cafeterias in Mumbai.
- Bharti Axa General Insurance and Pramerica Asset Managers let staff in Mumbai watch the game from its commencement at 2.30 in the afternoon
- SMC Wealth Management is screening the match on 15 televisions on its trading floor
- Reliance Infrastructure, owned by billionaire Anil Ambani, declared a holiday for its employees.
- Reliance Industries, owned by Ambani’s brother, gave workers a half-day off to “cheer the Indian team to victory”
- Coca-Cola’s India business gave staff the option of taking the afternoon off.
- Mumbai-based brokerage LKP Securities allowed workers to come to work dressed in blue — the colour of the Indian team jersey.