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regular-article-logo Sunday, 16 June 2024

Stands full in Chennai but buzz missing without MS Dhoni and CSK playing IPL Qualifier 2

The day was a stark reminder of the value Dhoni brings in the IPL's landscape. There were footfalls but suddenly the soul was missing

PTI Chennai Published 24.05.24, 09:43 PM
Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson with teammates arrive for the Indian Premier League (IPL) Qualifier 2 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai

Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson with teammates arrive for the Indian Premier League (IPL) Qualifier 2 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai PTI

The long Wallajah Road stretch which leads to the MA Chidambaram Stadium never looked so empty at 6 pm on an IPL day.

A bustling beehive on match day, the area was shrouded in relative silence during the Qualifier 2 between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday. It probably is the home to the largest number of sports goods and apparel shops in the city but as you walk past them, stacks of unsold yellow jersey jostle for your attention.

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There were hardly any takers for the counterfeit jerseys by street vendors. The cops could afford a smile even while keeping a hawk eye on the moving traffic.

Welcome to the 'Thala-Land' on an IPL day. But the 'Thala' or his beloved Chennai Super Kings weren't playing a high-stakes IPL game.

CSK and that buzz starts from 4 pm on a 7:30 pm match day are now a part of Chennai's sporting identity.

Of course, there were those odd Orange shirts and pink jerseys slowly trudging towards the Chepauk gates.

"Macha, I have always been a regular at CSK matches. I had three tickets and I wasn't finding any takers for those. Finally, me and my friends decided that no point in wasting tickets for a Qualifier 2. We will just support good cricket," CSK devotee Arun Pradeep said.

The biggest losers were the counterfeit jersey sellers who would at least make close to Rs 20,000 on a CSK match day with MSD's No. 7 shirts flying off the shelves in minutes.

On this day, they managed to sell a few Pat Cummins and Sanju Samson shirts.

While all those who had thought that CSK would sneak into the playoffs as the fourth team and may be playing the second Qualifier, ultimately filled the stands.

But the electric atmosphere that one is used to during a CSK game was nowhere to be found. However, BCCI and TNCA won't mind the presence of 29,255 spectators inside a 33,000 capacity stadium.

The day was a stark reminder of the value Dhoni brings in the IPL's landscape. There were footfalls but suddenly the soul was missing.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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