Kolkata Knight Riders is his favourite team. Star all-rounder Andre Russell and upcoming batsman Shubman Gill are his favourite players. As Delhi-based Aakash Srivastava looks ahead to watch the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup at The Lords, London, the excitement is bubbling over.

The visa formalities have been completed and he is waiting to get his stamped passport back so that the preparations for the visit can begin in real earnest.

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Aakash Srivastava
 Along with a friend, Aakash was having a Coca-Cola when he came across the ICC promotion details on the PET bottle. It was again a sheer coincidence that the television commercial for the contest appeared while they were still sipping Coca-Cola. The two discussed that they should enter the contest and within minutes the SMS was sent at the number.

A few weeks later, when Aakash received communication that he was selected as one of the winners, among several others, he thought it was a prank. But soon he was sure that he was one of the lucky ones. Now his dream of watching a match at Lords will be fulfilled and he is counting down the days.

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“To watch a World Cup final at Lords is a huge thing. For a person like me it is part of the wish list of things to do before you die,” Aakash said on the phone.

Growing up in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, Aakash wanted to be an all-rounder at school. He represented his school at local district matches. The spinner and top order batsman got consumed in completing his engineering and MBA degrees. He now works for an e-commerce company.

Thanks to Coca-Cola, some of part of his childhood cricket dream has been realised.

The story of surprise at being one of the winners of the contest is no different for others too.

In faraway, Vijayawada, Sunil Varma Guttumukkla’s daily routine has nothing to do with cricket. The 33-year-old has to work hard for his cement retailing business to earn a living for his large family. His wife, two sons and parents could not believe it when he was informed that he was one of those chosen to visit London to watch the ICC Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s. Live.

It had all started in jest. The neighbouring shopkeeper suggested to him that Coca-Cola was running a contest which could possibly get him a ticket to London to watch the finals. For him, it was just an excuse to have his favourite beverage, Thums Up.

As he quenched his thirst with the beverage, he sent the message to the number mentioned on the PET bottle. A few of his close friends were also lucky enough to get different prizes like recharge vouchers as a part of the contest.

After a while, he had forgotten about the contest when he was contacted one day and told that he was one of the winners. Neither his family nor he could believe it, at first.

Now the preparations for watching the match live on Sunday, July 14, are well and truly on. He could be one of the thousands in the stadium and the moment will be special.

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“I used to play cricket till I got married. Now I am trying to work hard so that the family is well provided for and happy,” Sunil said, excited at the opportunity.

When the first ball of the final of the World Cup is bowled, Aakash and Sunil’s families and friends will be watching not just the match closely, but also hoping to get a glimpse of their loved ones cheering for their favourite team from the stands. 

Disclaimer: Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd (CCIPL) does not have any control over issuance of visas or passports to the contest winners. The responsibility for these rest solely with the contest winners.