Cheering all the way!

Cheering all the way!

Starry affair

Cheering all the way!

The sixth season of the Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) got off to a heady start on Saturday with a slew of Bollywood actors who descended all the way from tinsel town to cheer for their team ‘Mumbai Heroes’ that played the first match against ‘Punjab De Sher’. Though it was the first time for ‘Punjab De Sher’, owner Puneet Singh seemed to be in full spirits along with team captain Sonu Sood and batsman Ayushmann Khurrana.

“Cricket and cinema are the two big things in India. When they merge, entertainment happens. People get excited when they see cricketers act and actors play,” remarked Ayushmann, with his usual effervescent smile. Rahul Dev voiced similar sentiments saying, “The euphoria is euphoric. I am very happy and energised to be here.” Comprising actors and singers Navraj Hans and Yuvraj Hans, comedians Gurpreet Ghuggi and Binnu Dhillon, actor Gulzar Chahal and others, the team looked ready to take on its rivals on the pitch.

The match started with ‘Mumbai Heroes’ batting first and many on that side cheering wholeheartedly for them. Brand ambassador for the team, Kriti Sanon, who looked her usual pretty self, felt that the event is a great idea with actors and performers from different  regions coming together. “I am not a big sports person and only used to follow the World Cup. This is my first live cricket match.

I hope my team wins and I can get some lady luck for them. I will shout out my lungs to keep them pepped!” gushed Kriti. Supporting the team, Sooraj Pancholi also looked visibly excited with all the attention and it being his first time at a cricket stadium and at the CCL.

Captain Riteish Deshmukh looked happy with the way the team kept scoring while owner Sohail Khan had a mix of tense and relaxed moments. The latter joined Bobby Deol and Preity Zinta as they happily posed for shutterbugs and were seen having a good time laughing. Preity looked funky in a grey ‘Being Human’ jumper, denims and boots. “It’s pretty awesome being here. It’s a whole different vibe compared to the IPL and I am definitely not that stressed. I have come here as ‘Mumbai Heroine’ to support my friends and I think they’ll win the entire tournament,” smiled the dimple-cheeked star. Suniel Shetty was also in good form, encouraging the players.

The other players and supporters from ‘Mumbai Heroes’ included actors AftabShivdasani, Daisy Shah, Varun Badola, Jai Bhanushali and Vatsal Sheth. Zarine Khan also came in a little later. With three projects in the pipeline, she said she’s looking forward to something glossy on the film front this year. Winner of ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 5’, Rajneesh Duggal, who starred in films like ‘1920’, ‘Ek Paheli Leela’ and ‘Dangerous Ishq’ was also quite excited about the league and an interesting year   professionally.

“We hope to give them a good fight. The players are warming up to each other. We will give our best shot and leave no stone unturned,” said Sonu Sood during the second half of the match. However, ‘Mumbai Heroes’ had a sweeping victory by 98 runs (they made 222 runs in 20 overs). Cheerleaders for ‘Punjab De Sher’ were dressed in orange and dark blue while those for ‘Mumbai Heroes’ came attired in pink and light blue.

The crowd was sparse for the first match on Saturday but many among the viewers, especially those close to the boundary line, tried taking selfies with their favourite actors. Rati and Vijayalakshmi termed the experience as ‘mindblowing, cool and awesome’. “More than the match, it’s about getting to see the glitz and glamour of the film industry,” they said.

Chairman of CCL, Ashok Kheny, was also present on the occasion and said that he expected the crowd to get bigger during the subsequent matches. The second match for the day, between ‘Kerala Strikers’ and ‘Telugu Warriors’, was won by the latter by 5 wickets.

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