YAMU’s guide to the T20 final

Saturday, 6 October 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka will be playing in the T20 Finals this Sunday at the R. Premadasa stadium. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets to the big game, we’ve put together some information on how to get to the stadium and what to eat when you get there. If you don’t have tickets, we’ve also made a list of six high-end places to watch – almost as good as cheering outside a shop window.

R. Premadasa Stadium

This stadium is the heart of Sri Lankan Cricket and the heart of the nation when big matches are on. R. Premadasa Stadium seats 35,000 and – despite somewhat peeling paint – it makes for a great experience. For the history we recommend the Wikipedia page. What we offer here is more of a user guide.

Getting there

The stadium is in Maligawatte, in what was once a central part of Colombo but is now fairly removed. The stadium itself is somewhat oddly situated with housing projects and temples seemingly within the premises.

The easiest way to get there is to take Baseline Road. You pass the bridge over the rail tracks and then turn left at the next big roundabout, onto Sri Saddama Mawatha, at the Maligawatta Burial Grounds.

While there is parking across the street at the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (and at any place that locals feel like renting out), this is not really recommended. It’s better to park some distance away and take a trishaw in.

If you do want to park, go through Maradana to the Panchikawatta junction and approach the stadium that way. You can theoretically park at the Cooperative Wholesale place.

Getting in

We apologize for the weak map above, but it’s the closest you’ll get to a R. Premadasa Stadium Seating Chart.

The main entry points to the stadium are from Sri Suddarama Road – you can either walk in from the Khettarama Temple Road or the MaligawattaJumma Masjid Road. Which road you take doesn’t depend on religion, the Jumma Masjid Road takes you to gates 6, 7, 8 and 9, so people sitting in the D section. Otherwise, take the Khettarama Temple Road. From there you turn right and walk around to wherever your gate is.

If you’re in the Grandstand or the A or B sections you have quite a long walk. They don’t let you walk along the stadium, you have to take quite a detour and walk along the canal. On the other side there is what seems to be a fart factory.

For busy games allocate at least 20 minutes to get from the road to your seat.

Where are the best seats?

As a bit of an aside, the seats offer quite different views of the game. What matters is height and the angle you have on the game. In our opinion, Grandstand is the best. From there you can see both wickets laid out in front of you.

While the view is better from the upper decks, the crowds are definitely more lively on the field level. There’s really no place that’s especially bad, though when you’re in the lower seats at field level you can’t really follow what’s going on. You can see the cheerleaders though, which is more sadly hilarious than actually cheering.

The experience: Once you get there (following our tips), the experience is awesome. Not to be missed. Nothing beats a tense Sri Lanka cricket game, and the show is good even when Sri Lanka isn’t playing.

Tips: Take a trishaw there. Driving and parking is not easy. Allocate at least 20 minutes to get to your seats.

Food at the T20

The T20 World Cup is proudly in Sri Lanka this year. How’s the food? It’s fine, and there’s beer, but there are very few vegetarian options for the many visiting Indians. Pepsi and it’s former company Yum!

Brands seems to have the rights for everything, so it’s all their products – KFC, Frito-Lay, etc. And there’s Lion Beer, which is sort of a vegetable. Besides that the veg Indian are stuck with potato chips. Pizza Hut also makes the rounds, but I’m not sure they’re doing a vegetarian pizza. There’s also hot dogs.

KFC remains insanely expensive – Rs. 270 for spicy drumlets. The hot dogs, however, are reasonable at Rs. 100 and it’s the same price for a cup of beer. They also have these innovative cardboard carrying cases to take six cups of beer at a time. This is useful because the beer seems watered down or something, not especially buzz making.

One sometimes wishes we had something vaguely local – some wade, a kottu maybe, some cheese roti or prawn wade. On the whole, however, the corporate overlords of Sri Lanka’s Cricket stadiums have not been bad.

Six places to watch the T20 finals (high end)

If you don’t have tickets to the game on Friday, here’s a list of (high end) places where you can knock back a few Lions while cheering on the boys.

  • CR&FC: 28 Prof. G. P. MalalasekaraMawatha, Colombo 7, 011-2586834
  • Cheers: 77, Galle Road, Colombo 3, 011-2497373
  • Cricket Club Café: 34 Queen’s Road, Colombo 3, 011-2501384
  • Rize: 82, DharmapalaMawatha, Colombo 3, 011-7620624
  • Colombo Courtyard: 32 Alfred House Avenue, Colombo 3, 011-4645333
  • The Brewery by O!: 10 Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, Colombo Fort, Colombo 1, 011-2436462