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Cheer here!

Move over sexy cheerleaders... the asli fans, the Knight Riders Cheering Squad is here. Armed with purple and blue wigs, KKR balloons, horns and “tension mat le ya” banners, they geared up to shake their booty and scream themselves hoarse for their team at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Ten lucky winners of the Nokia Cheering Squad contest on Facebook (five of those from Calcutta), were the envy of friends and fans, as they gathered to take up position at Eden — faces painted with KKR’s flaming helmet insignia and hearts filled with confidence.

“I know we will win,” laughed Manish Agarwal, a 36-year-old senior consultant at Ernst & Young, Calcutta. The Facebook fiend earlier won a World Cup contest on the social networking site and Team India went on to bag the trophy. “Now that I have won this contest, KKR will definitely win,” he declared, passing some mint to a fellow squad member whose throat was giving her trouble. “Rakh le, shout karne ke liye lagega.

A wacky slogan-writing contest has won the squad not just a chance to be a part of the last two home games but also to click and upload game moments on Facebook with their new Nokia N8 phones. And, of course, meet Shah Rukh Khan!

The Hinglish slogans were spun around Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo to Bengal tigers, rosogolla and sixes, Gauti and Lee. “I am going to keep an eye on the celebrity enclosure. I can’t believe I will meet all these stars. I am going to freeze in front of Shah Rukh I think,” gasped 19-year-old Antara Basu, a first-year student of Loreto College, while practising the squad’s unique SRK-move — a co-ordinated arms flung open pose (which they were to strike every time a wicket was claimed or a boundary was hit by KKR) — with Ishita Mandal, a shy BA first-year student from Victoria College and the squad’s principal choreographer.

“Our moves will be hotter than theirs (the professional cheerleaders),” yelled Abhrajit Dutta, a 23-year-old CA student from Calcutta, as the team donned their purple tees. “Our slogans will be impromptu, but we have been practising our moves since morning. We will show the cheerleaders how to really dance,” added Abhrajit, a Juhi Chawla fan. “I wish there was a Juhi move too,” he mock sighed, before the topic changed to team loyalties and life after Sourav Ganguly.

Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan, SRK, Juhi... all adding up to the KKR team spirit. “See, we love Dada but we support the team’s decision,” said Manish.

“Team India is where it is today, thanks to Dada. I miss him a lot, but it is team over individual... so I go with KKR,” added Kunal Mandal, a 21-year-old BTech student who had come down from Durgapur.

Post-match, the gang of cheerleaders shifted from Eden Gardens to ITC Sonar and traded their KKR gear for autograph books and cameras. Having hit a purple patch, KKR’s merry men and women will regroup for the team’s last home game on May 22 against Sachin Tendulkar’s Mumbai Indians.

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