ICC World Cup T20 2016 India vs West Indies semi-final
ICC World Cup T20 2016 India vs West Indies semi-finalReuters

Two matches that featured India in the last stages of the ICC World T20 2016 — the India vs Australia match and the India vs West Indies semi-final — were watched by more than 5 crore Indians (combined), edging out reigning popular Hindi television serials. More cricket is in the offing in India with the commencement of IPL 2016 from April 9.

While the India vs West Indies match was watched March 31 by 2.65 crore Indian viewers, the India vs Australia match saw about 2.41 crore Indian fans glued to their television sets March 27. The figures pertain to Doordarshan viewership.

The viewership data measured in impressions were released Friday by television audience measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

The agency publishes weekly data, and the latest one pertains to the week March 26 to April 1.

The maximum viewership was for the India vs Pakistan match at 8.3 crore viewers, according to the Economic Times. It delivered "83,358 ('000) average impressions," which is BARC India's currency of measuring the number of viewers and time spent, the daily said.

Read: IPL 2016: Complete squads for all the eight teams

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The three Hindi serials — "Naagin", "Kumkum Bhagya" and "Ye Hai Mohabbatein" — occupied the next three slots in that order in the list of top five programmes released by BARC India.

Read: TRP ratings: 'Naagin' continues to remain at the top; Ssharad Malhotra's 'Kasam' impresses viewers

Star Plus topped the list of top 10 TV channels in the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) category for the week, followed by Colors, Zee TV, Zee Anmol, DD National and Sony Pal.

Home-grown FMCG company Patanjali, whose products are promoted by yoga guru Ramdev, topped the list of leading 10 Indian brands. Telecom services provider Vodafone and soap brand Santoor followed Patanjali.

Sports sponsorship rises 12 percent

Sports sponsorship grew 12.3 percent in 2015 to Rs. 5,1,85.4 crore in India, according to a report published jointly by ESP Properties (the Entertainment & Sports arm of media buying company GroupM) and SportzPower (Indian sports business news provider).

Cricket continues to be the biggest chunk in the sports industry pie, though non-cricket sports are also emerging, according to the report.