Bangalore, April 13: Summer showers, cloudy sky and damp weather kept thousands of fans away from watching the first tie of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 between hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Chinnaswamy stadium here on Monday night.
Though intermittent rains that resumed late afternoon threatened to delay the match, they halted hour before the match began at 8 p.m., as dark clouds melted away, giving respite to about 20,000 fans who trooped into the stadium for an exciting encounter on a cool and windy night.
“It’s a great relief the rain has stopped ahead of the match giving us enough time to dry the outfield and start on time under salubrious climate for which this garden city is famous,” a Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) official told IANS in the pavilion.
As the craze for the eighth edition of the IPL tournament built-up, organisers claimed that all tickets were sold out for the 40,000-capacity stadium. Pre-monsoon showers since Saturday, however, kept the ground staff busy covering the pitch and officials on tenterhooks, as the met office predicted more rains playing spoilsport.
Tight security, entry curbs trouble fans
Heavy security, frisking at the entrance twice and restriction on carrying bags, umbrellas and other objects into the stands put hundreds of fans in trouble.
“Its always tough getting into the stadium, as we face lot of problems from police, security men and officials who keep changing routes and entry gates every year. We are made to go around the stadium in locating our gate number as one side of the stadium is blocked due to metro rail project work,” lamented Pradeep Kumar, a bank manager, who came with his son to watch the tie.
Additional Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar, however, said in view of the high security cover for the stadium, which witnessed a blast incident at an IPL match five years ago (April 17, 2010), police cannot take chances and fans have to put up with mandatory checking and necessary restrictions.
Frenzied fans miss Gayle storm on home ground
RCB’s dashing opener Chris Gayle disappointed thousands of his fans by getting out cheaply in the sixth over for a paltry 21 in 16 balls after a promising start with a six on the third ball of the first over.
Gayle began on a cautious note and tried to settle for a long innings, like in the previous tie against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Kolkata on Saturday night when he hit 96 in 56 balls with seven mighty sixes and seven fours and made the team win by three wickets.
Though RCB skipper Virat Kohli came with Gayle to open the innings, the West Indian southpaw was caught by Ashish Reddy to a ball by SRH pacer Praveen Kumar, which caught fans off guard.
“It is very disappointing to see our favourite player (Gayle) go early without displaying his batting prowess as he did in the previous match, when he made the home team win single-handed. We hope he will show his true form in the next six games,” said Santosh Hegde, an ardent fan.