The best for the last!

The best for the last!

JAM-PACKED STADIUM

The best for the last!

It was like Bangalore’s cricket fans had nothing to lose. Their team, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), was out of the playoffs. And what mattered most for Bangaloreans was cricket and cricket alone. The stadium was jam-packed and the yelling and hooting was in full steam.

While the fans of Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians were equal in number, the celebrities, especially the local ones, were missing. The supporters of Mumbai or Chennai too boiled down to support to Sachin or Dhoni, respectively.

The match began on a bad note for Chennai which lost wickets till Dhoni marched in and lived up to the expectations of his fans. But once Mumbai began to bat and Sachin got out, it was clear that the match would head only one way. “Sachin is out now. What’s the point? I am sure Mumbai Indians will lose,” said Rohini Iyer, a hard-core Mumbai Indian fan who was seen leaving the stadium as soon as Sachin was stumped out.

What was interesting among the spectators was that a large chunk of them were from cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad despite it being a mid-week. They took off work just to come and cheer for their respective teams. And it also looked like none of the IPL muck — controversies, match fixing or molestation case got to the people, who simply brushed it all aside. Gagan, an employee with Wipro, said, “The IPL is a combined package of excitement and controversies. It’s all part of the game but a loyal IPL fan wouldn’t really care about all this. The sport comes first.” 

There were Mumbai and Chennai T-shirts, caps and other attractive accessories being sold for not less than Rs 400, a good Rs 100 more than the previous matches in the City.

This was the last of the matches and the hawkers wanted to make the most of it.

Chinnaswamy Stadium wore a different look and the lounges too were refurbished for the playoffs. Huge posters of the playoff trophy were hung in every nook and corner of the stadium. The red carpet look that was given to all the lounges gave way to gold and white furnishing complete with artwork on the walls. Interestingly, the prices tickets for some of the stands such as D corporate, M3, A stand, N stand and P3 stand were slashed almost by half.

It seemed like people were there just to enjoy the match and soak in the electrifying atmosphere.

The screams were more when Dhoni and Sachin scored a six or four. Shalini and her daughter Anjali, both residents of Canada, were here in the City on vacation. They chose to drop by at the IPL match. “I first came to the stadium 40 years ago. It was a lot quieter back then. We are here just for the atmosphere,” noted Shalini. Anjali confessed that at first, she wasn’t too excited at the thought of coming to the stadium. “But I would have regretted had I not come here today. It’s worth paying for the atmosphere. You don’t find this kind of energy back in Canada,” she said.

Naina Shah travelled from Coimbatore just to watch the Mumbai Indians play. “I couldn’t miss a chance to watch Sachin play live. I got some artwork done on my face just to pledge my support for Sachin. I follow the IPL very closely and was looking forward to watching the playoff,” observed Naina.

Ivan and Patrick, both employees of an IT company, won tickets for the match, from a contest that was run in their office. “It’s sad that the RCB didn’t make it at all. But I am supporting Mumbai Indians for Sachin. My loyalties are with both the teams,” said Ivan.

Patrick, who just moved in from the United States, observed, “I’ve seen nothing like this back home. The IPL is a neat balance of cricket and entertainment.”

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