No crawling cars, no crushing crowd at the stands, no pom-pom girls doing the jig and visibly relieved security personnel — Ranchi’s first date with Champions League T20 began on a not-so-happening note on Sunday, despite the Dhoni factor.
Four super teams battled it out at Dhurwa’s greens, which looked majestic as the afternoon sun cheated clouds and allayed downpour fears. The first clash saw Brisbane Heat and Trinidad and Tobago in extreme action — seven sixes and 16 boundaries to be precise — followed by local favourites Chennai Super Kings against the Titans .
But, unlike the JSCA stadium’s blockbuster debut during the India-England ODI on January 19, or in its much recent entry into T20 cricket with two IPL matches in May, the maiden tryst with this elite league sorely missed the fervour in terms of numbers.
The only silver lining for the world-class complex — which also saw two brief floodlight snags in second half of both matches — was a sea of yellow both inside and outside. Even the modest turnout of around 20,000 at the 40,000-capacity stadium showed that Chennai Super Kings’ thala (the leader in Tamil) Mahi is the man in his hometown and commanded total loyalty.
With ticket sales low till Saturday, the JSCA, sources said, even distributed bulk passes from late night till Sunday morning. And yet, the first match barely saw 10,000 fans.
Hoping for a surge in the second match, organisers kept entry gates open past 8pm. The numbers had doubled when Dhoni won the toss and decided to field, but houseful still remained a far cry.
Vendors knew the trick of the trade and stocked nothing but CSK jerseys, caps, flags and colours. The evergreen Malinga wig too flaunted a bright yellow. “I began selling wigs at Rs 150, but had to slash the price by Rs 50 soon to woo people,” said vendor Salim.
Young Jharkhand was the major contributor to the sparse crowd. For college-goer Animesh Kumar, resident of Doranda, a single ticket for twin matches was the USP.
“On a Sunday, I thought it won’t be a bad deal to come for two matches at Rs 300. And then, there is Dhoni,” he said, sporting a yellow tee along with three friends.
A bunch of girls and boys, cheering for CSK, said there were few hangouts in Ranchi and the 20 was a good bait. “Cricket may be an overdose for everyone, but Ranchi hasn’t had too much of live action. So, it’s cool,” said Shreeparna Mazumdar, a BIT student who came with 10 classmates.
Mamta Kumar, a bank executive who made her way to the South Pavilion with businessman husband Sahil Khamboj, said they just wanted to see Dhoni in action.
The otherwise lack-lustre evening received a dash of excitement only after 7pm. Bollywood music composers Vishal-Shekar belted out foot-tapping numbers like Chammak Challo from Ra. One and Disco Deewane from SOTY.
Sunday’s match between Brisbane Heat and Trinidad & Tobago at the JSCA
International Stadium Complex witnesses thin attendance. (Prashant Mitra)
Boarding my flight for Ranchi! Excited to be playing at the #CLT20 match! Go, Dhoni! No Mercy!! :)
Uploaded by @VishalDadlani (Music director Vishal Dadlani)
Four hours of shut eye
and now on board to Ranchi..Cranky but worth
it.. Can’t miss the homecoming of the
prodigal son of
Uploaded by @jatinsapru
(TV presenter Jatin Sapru)
IT’s gonna be yellow, yellow and all yellow... in Jsca #Ranchi Stadium.#CSK
Is coming It’s a warning for all teams. Bach kai zara
Uploaded by @Im_SPS (Shiv Prakash Singh,
a Dhoni fan)
After a 5 Months I’m hearing Whistles! :D:D Switch to Whistles Mode! #ProudCskian @ChennaiIPL ! Lion
roaring frm Chennai 2 Ranchi #Dhoni
Uploaded by @BaluMahe (Er.Balu Muralidharan, MTech student & cricket fan)
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