27 Mar 2011

Black market prices soar as India-Pakistan showdown looms

8:54 am on 27 March 2011

India's semi-final duel with Pakistan at the cricket World Cup has sparked a cross-border diplomatic initiative and sent ticket prices soaring on the black market.

India will face their arch-rivals in Mohali on Wednesday in what will be Pakistan's first match on Indian soil since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he intends to attend the match and has invited Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani to also watch the game.

The invitation comes while relations between the two nations are still tense following the attack by Pakistan-based Islamist militants on Mumbai in 2008 that left 166 people dead.

The Punjab Cricket Association ground in Mohali in northern India holds only 28,000 people and the desperate scramble for tickets was already underway with sales on the black market soaring to 10 times their face value.