As has become customary, the traditional fused with the modern, though the seamlessness was conspicuous by its absence.
Cricket took a sideshow for 45 minutes as classical, hip-hop and Yakshagana performers jostled for eyeballs from a crowd in excess of 5,000 that didn’t seem to mind too much the absence of a breathtaking, trend-setting show.
The tournament itself got off to a cracking start long before the opening ceremony, Provident Bangalore picking up the first victory of the 31-match competition.
M R Manjunath and Thilak Naidu set the tone with innovation and enterprise; R Jonathan’s pyrotechnics weren’t enough for Mangalore United to make a match of it.
The controversial mid-innings strategy breaks that characterised IPL II in South Africa were very much in evidence, even if the quality of cricket didn’t quite match that of its illustrious trend-setter. The fare on offer at the opening ceremony was in keeping with that trend, too.
Friendship and unity
The theme at the inaugural do was of friendship and unity, hence it was no surprise that the eight participating teams lined up on the park for a ringside view of the cultural performances that were full of energy, if nothing else.
The spectators were moved enough by exhortations from master of ceremonies Charu Sharma to vociferously usher in the Twenty20 extravaganza that Karnataka State Cricket Association officials believe will contribute to raising the profile of the sport in the State and make Karnataka the power it once used to be in domestic cricket.
With fellow State Ministers Goolihatti Shekar and Katta Subrahmanya Naidu, as well as KSCA president Srikanta Datta Narasimha Raja Wadiyar and secretary Brijesh Patel in attendance, Transport Minister R Ashok declared the KPL open.
On behalf of the players, Robin Uthappa took the tournament oath, triggering another rendition of the catching tournament anthem featuring, all too briefly, live performances by singers MD Pallavi and Avinash Chebbi. Dazzling fireworks and a laser show brought the curtains down on one show, and ushered in the other, all of 15 days long. You can rest assured the fireworks will be even more dazzling as the Uthappas, the Manish Pandeys and the Stuart Binnys warm to the tournament.