A sea of flags whipped around a packed Wanderers stadium, the tension palpable as arch-foes India and Pakistan faced off in a climactic battle in the Twenty20 world final in South Africa.
The hyped-up crowd roared deafeningly from the first ball bowled in Johannesburg, scantily-clad dancers and upbeat music ever-present as clear skies and a hot summer's day provided a perfect backdrop to the clash.
The 32,000-capacity stadium was sold out long before it was known who would take part in the final, and the youthful Indian and Pakistan teams' largely unexpected progress in the tournament lent an added thrill to a dream final.
Many South Africans, celebrating Heritage Day with a National Braai Day -- the country's version of a barbecue its most recognisable tradition -- pitched up for the final, despite dashed expectations of a home win.
Some fans capitalised on the local disappointment, scoring tickets off South Africans who no longer had a stake in the much anticipated final of the world tournament which has changed the face of cricket.
The Maharaj family, clutching their hard hats -- in anticipation of the fours and sixes synonomous with the slam-bang form of the game -- flags, banners and dressed in blue in support of India were lucky to find someone to part with tickets.
"We are all psyched up and ready to go," said Jaresh Maharaj, predicting India would soar through the match with master-blaster Yuvraj Singh and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on their side.
"Singh -- that's the trump card at the moment. India has made it to the world cup and managed to kick out three major players, England, South Africa and Australia. For us that's important," he said.
For fans such as Santosh Kadam of Mumbai, who made a special trip to South Africa for the world tournament, the culmination of two weeks of electrifying cricket is a dream come true.
"We bought it (tickets) not knowing India would reach the final but we were lucky," he told AFP.
"India and Pakistan are meeting for such a big match, a world event, for the first time. It is a big thing for anyone."
Both India and Pakistan fans alike agree that the historic rivalry between the neighbouring countries is what gives the match the edge.
"It's because of traditional rivalry it is more of a war that people see. This match has always been crucial," Mikhil Jasuja of Bhopal in India's central province told AFP.
He was more cautious about India's prospects, saying both teams had performed equally well, and India would have to be disciplined to lift the cup today.
Pakistan supporter Muhammad Jojee said bowler Shahid Afridi was the one to break through India's batting line-up.
"We are playing our neighbours, our arch-rivals. It's not a game it's a war," he said, pausing before adding: "And it's the world cup final, by the way."