At least half a dozen Indian cricket fans were injured after thousands of them barged into a cricket stadium in Hyderabad and clashed with police on Thursday in a rush for tickets to a Twenty20 match between India and Australia at the weekend.
About 15,000 fans had gathered overnight outside the Gymkhana ground to buy tickets for the match on Sunday, but confusion over ticket sales and limited numbers triggered chaos.
The city is hosting an international cricket match for the first time in three years after the disruption to global sport because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Police said the chaos began on Wednesday but unruly crowds barged into the stadium on Thursday morning after waiting for hours to buy tickets.
The organisers had opened just two sales counters and limited each buyer to only two tickets for certain stands, sparking anger among fans.
Police resorted to a baton charge to control the crowd. At least seven people and two constables were taken to hospital with injuries.
Videos and photos on social media showed police beating members of the crowd of mostly young men as they pushed and jostled.
Police accused the Hyderabad Cricket Association, which is responsible for organising the match, of mismanagement.
“Such a huge crowd comes, there should have been sufficient counters but there were just two counters and each one was taking about five minutes,” said Devendra Singh Chauhan, a senior police officer.
A similar situation occurred on Wednesday, when desperate fans gathered at the ground but had to leave empty-handed because ticket sales were not open. The huge gathering had led to traffic congestion.
Australia is touring India for a three-match series as the teams prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup next month.
India lost the first match on Tuesday after blistering knocks by Australian opener Cameron Green and wicketkeeper Mathew Wade as they chased down the 209-run target with four balls to spare.
The teams will meet on Friday in Nagpur before the final fixture in Hyderabad.