Spectators have a blast despite bomb explosion

Spectators have a blast despite bomb explosion

Semifinals to be held in the City as per schedule

Spectators have a blast despite bomb explosion

Vigilant eyes: City police commissioner Shankar Bidri (front right) takes stock of the situation after the bomb blast outside the Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday. DH photo

It was normal service at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday evening, a packed gathering enjoying itself even if there was no popular home victory. The blasts outside the venue that forced the Royal Challengers game against the Mumbai Indians to be delayed by an hour hardly dampened the enthusiasm of the fans, who patiently waited through the delay with no signs of frustration despite the understandable lack of official information.

‘Match delayed’ was all the giant screen flashed. If the fans were apprehensive or nervous, it didn’t show. They swayed to foot-tapping music, waved the RCB flag in its thousands but reserved the loudest cheers for India’s favourite son, Sachin Tendulkar.

The scene couldn’t have been in greater contrast to what was happening outside. Armed with bomb detectors and sniffer dogs, police and security personnel scanned the circumference of the stadium, their sombre faces far removed from the expressions of joy and abandon just beyond the concrete structure.

“Security inside the stadium is fool-proof,” said BK Ravi, one of the assistant secretaries of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). “Whatever transpired happened outside the stadium premises. There is no issue inside the ground, people are having a good time.”
The players themselves, led by Anil Kumble, wisely desisted from pressing the panic button, though it is reliably learnt that the overseas contingent of the Royal Challengers needed a lot of convincing from the skipper as well as team owner Vijay Mallya before their concerns and fears were allayed.

Contrary to rumours, no thought has even been given to the possibility of moving the semifinals away from the Chinnaswamy stadium, and Bangalore. The semis are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.