The game has just begun

The game has just begun

First match

The game has just begun

The Indian Premier League festivities have started and how! The excitement in the stands for Thursday’s first match between Royal Challenger’s Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI), could only be matched by the high adrenalin action on the field. The winners, both on and off the field, were Bangaloreans. While cricket crazy fans soaked in the fun, the Bengaluru team prevailed over Mumbai in a nail-biting encounter.

The excitement was palpable across the City. All roads leading to the venue were clogged with crawling traffic from noon itself. The flags-sellers, face painters and
T-shirt vendors lined the path to the stadium and people were seen getting their faces painted. T-shirts sold like hot cakes although it was exorbitantly priced at Rs 200 each.

The Chinnaswamy Stadium has undergone a complete makeover right from the LED monitors, displayed across the stadium to life-size figures of namma RCB boys placed at the entrance. There was tight security in and around the stadium, with not less than 1,000 cops, in khaki inside the stadium and another 1,000 outside. Additional commandos were also deployed. 

Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli had the maximum fans. People had gathered in the stadium to catch the best view, almost an hour before the match began. They yelled, screamed and cheered every time the cricketers from either of the teams walked past. Be it Sachin from MI or Virat from RCB, Bangaloreans didn’t want to miss a chance to click pictures and wave to their favourite stars as they moved around the stadium. 

RCB fans came with a lot of expectation — of witnessing the Gayle storm once again and they weren’t disappointed. After Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to field, the spectators were happy as they got to see Chris in action, right at the start. Many were disappointed when Virat Kohli got out pretty fast but Chris held fort, despite an injury and did exceptionally well.

The crowd was seen cheering for Sachin when he came on the field and every time he hit a six, the crowd roared with excitement but the joy was shortlived, for he too was bowled out early.  While Ramya, Puneeth and Shivarajkumar were conspicuous by their absence, Bollywood actresses Konkana Sen and Huma Qureshi, Telugu actor Venkatesh, singer Anu Malik and Kannada actors Yash, Deepika Kamaiah, Kriti Kharbanda and writer Sudha Murthy were seen enjoying the match and soaking in every bit of action.The lounges wore a brand new look. The unlimited flow of all kinds of beverages and great food in the lounges, made for a heady combination and people were seen eagerly savouring every moment of the match, even as they sipped their favourite drink.

Santosh, an IT professional says, “The combination of RCB and MI is a lethal one. But my loyalties lie with MI.” Nidhi, another IT professional adds, “There is no denying that despite the last seasons of the IPL, the fever has still not died down. People really wait for it. Otherwise, on a weekday, who gets to see Bangalore like this?” Chitra and her son Suriya had their eyes fixed on the field and didn’t want to miss a single second of the game, “We love cricket and I make sure I come for every IPL match in the City,” says Chitra. Her son, Suriya pitches in, “I am a big fan of Chris and watching him play is an inspiration.”

Akshar, a yoga teacher, says he couldn’t find a better way to unwind than watch an IPL match, “I play a bit of cricket myself not as a serious sport but as a past time. I think cricket, as a sport, brings even non-cricket lovers to the stadium.” This was Shruti, a freelance writer’s first time at a match, “It’s great to see the best players from across the world, play together on one field. It’s a rare sight and it’s a great format,” concludes Shruti.

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