MUMBAI (Reuters) - The website selling just 1000 tickets for the Cricket World Cup final in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on April 2 crashed seconds after they went on sale on Monday sparking furious complaints from fans.
Tickets were put on sale at 0730 GMT via the International Cricket Council's (ICC) official ticketing partner Kyazoonga.com but the website buckled under the pressure of huge traffic.
"We are facing absolutely unprecedented amounts of traffic from all over the world, with hundreds of millions of people hitting at once," the online agent said in a statement posted on Facebook.
"Some of you may have trouble accessing the site. It seems that cricket fever has surpassed all anticipations and expectations. Please bear with us as our network team works on bringing you the tickets you all have been waiting for."
Of the 33,000 seats at the Wankhede, around 4000 are available to the public -- 1000 online while another 3000 odd will be sold later for those who queue up at stadium box offices.
The rest are distributed among the ICC and clubs affiliated to the Mumbai Cricket Association.
An unnamed source at Yahoo said they were being inundated by complaints from hundreds of fans who were unable to log on to the official ticket agency through a link posted on the popular search engine's website.
Fans also bombarded the online ticket agency's Facebook page with angry comments, with the most offensive being removed by moderators.
One post summed up the frustration.
"Pls can you tell us if the tickets are still available or are we all wasting our time visiting your website constantly..."
With such a small proportion available to the general public in a cricket-crazy country where the population is more than a billion, it is little wonder that there has been a mad scramble for tickets.
With the Indian team living up to their favourite tag by walloping Bangladesh in the opening World Cup match, expectations are high for a home-team success come April 2.
Such is the desperation of fans, even media visiting the city have been under siege for tickets.
As soon as hotel staff, taxi drivers, security guards, corner shop owners and even road sweepers find out media are here to cover the tournament, the first question out of their lips is "Can you please get me a ticket to the final?"
When Reuters tried to log on to Kyazoonga.com an hour after the tickets went on sale, the website was timing out.
"It's the first we've heard about it so we can't comment about it," an ICC spokesman said after being alerted about the problem by Reuters.
Five hours on, and the site was still not back up.
"The team's still working on it guys. Please bear with us. We understand your frustration and feel your pain. We are working non-stop to get you the tickets you need. We can't wait to get them to you as soon as the site is back up," read another post from Kyazoonga at 1225 GMT.
Earlier on Monday, ICC chief Haroon Lorgat acknowledged there was "an unbelievable demand for tickets which clearly outstrips the available supply.
"From the outset it was always going to be near impossible to satisfy the enormous demand for tickets," he said in a statement that was issued only minutes before the tickets went on sale.
"But the Central Organising Committee always wanted to provide as many cricket lovers as possible with an opportunity to experience the World Cup. That is why some tickets are now being made available online."
(Additional reporting by Madhu Soman, Editing by Jon Bramley)
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