CRICKET… STARS and EDEN GARDENS!

The crowd surged in… the arousing music echoed in the stands… The stadium looked as if it had been painted black and gold, with patches of yellow… The cheerleaders took their places… The trumpet sound urged the crowd to cheer… The stage was set…

As we approached the stadium, we stood there, overwhelmed by the energized crowd and took a moment to digest that we were at the Eden Gardens Stadium, Kolkata to watch the Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Chennai Super Kings!

The DJ played sizzling new tracks and kept the crowd permanently on their feet. If the energy levels in the crowd dropped, he would yell “Itna sannata kyon hai? (Why is it so quiet in here?)”, which would be followed by a loud roar!

Rain had affected the start of the play in the afternoon; the match had to be delayed by an hour. No one seemed to be too concerned. Young and old, men and women… all were soaked in the electrifying atmosphere. But soon enough, the Umpires in their crimson-red jerseys walked onto the field along with the captains of the two teams, for the toss. The spectators waited with bated breath as the coin was tossed up. MS Dhoni called it correctly at the toss and decided that Chennai Super Kings would bat first. As more and more people poured in, each of the 65,000 seats in the 147-year-old stadium were filled.

The CSK innings began with Hussey and M. Vijay at the crease. While bowlers like Pathan and Balaji took early, quick wickets, others like Brett Lee and Iqbal Abdulla utilised the slow nature of the wicket exceptionally well to restrict Chennai to 114-4. S Badrinath and Suresh Raina were swiftly dismissed, while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not get to bat at all. Each ball which reached the boundary called for celebration in the form of cheerleaders dancing to the team song, while each time a wicket fell, the crowd rejoiced to the tunes of “Korbo Lorbo Jitbo Re”.

We were all so absorbed in the match that we didn’t realize when the day turned to night… EdenGardens had come alive! After the CSK innings ended, sonorous, resonating music filled the stadium. The crowd was energized and a splendid Mexican wave went around the stadium seven times. The entire crowd, from the six-year-olds to the sixty-year-olds joined in with the DJ egging the crowds to yell out K-K-R—K-K-R, synchronized with the drum beat.

Morgan and Kallis opened the innings for KKR. When the first wicket fell, and Gambhir came to the crease, crowd cheered each move the KKR captain made. We enjoyed brandishing the KKR flag and painted “FOUR” and “SIX” signs and posters as soon as something dramatic happened. The atmosphere, the music and the match were all awesome.

As the rain came pouring down, and the experts decided to end the match after only 10 overs of the KKR innings, Kolkata Knight Riders snapped Chennai Super Kings’ four-match winning streak with a 10-run victory via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-interrupted Indian Premier League clash at Eden Gardens.

The rain seemed to have spilt the show…but then the Baadshah of Bollwyood walked in with the Greek God, the awesome twosome, Shah Rukh Khan and Hritik Roshan sent a wave of exhilaration through the crowd. The two walked around the stadium (as if it was a victory lap!) bowing, blowing kisses and waving out to the crowd, thanking them for their relentless support and cheer. One of the spectators rightly said, “Baarish ne match rukwa diya, par hamne Shah Kurk ko dekha, isse badi baat kya ho sakti hai? (The rain spoilt the match, but we saw Shah Rukh, what could be bigger than this?)”.

The IPL encapsulates everything that this young, vivacious generation is looking for. From the fast pace of the game, to the blaring music and the adrenaline rush, it is like a cricket carnival which celebrates life, just like the Garden of Eden.

Not for reproduction.

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