Bangalore, May 4 IANS | 3 months ago

The return of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the second leg of the tournament's seventh edition here Sunday in the midst of the summer season did not excite the fans as in the past for a couple of factors.


The ongoing Lok Sabha election took away the game to the UAE April 16-30, while the three consecutive losses the home team - Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) - suffered in the desert venues dampened the enthusiasm, as was evident from the subdued response of fans to the first league tie against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chinnaswamy stadium here.

"General election, summer vacation and RCB's below performance in the UAE have robbed the game of the interest and fun it used to create in the past," said Jayant Kulkarni, a member of the Karnataka Stat Cricket Association (KSCA).

"With uncertainty on the political front, soaring prices and other things dominating the mind space, cricket has taken a back seat.

"The scene may change for better after counting of votes May 16," he said.

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Stringent security, rough frisking rattle fans

Tight security and heavy presence of police personnel in and around the stadium rattled the fans, as they were subjected to stringent checks and rough frisking by policemen at the gates after making them wait for long in serpentine queues.

"This is the first time I am seeing heavy security being deployed at the stadium for safety reasons. Though I don't mind security measures, which have become common everywhere, police need to be sensitised and told to deal with fans gently as we come here to watch a game and have fun," P. Mohan Kumar, a techie, told IANS.

As taking any object to the stands was banned, fans had to surrender lighters, water bottles and food packets. Even a deodorant can a media person was carrying in his bag was taken away.

Though there were many empty patches in the western and southern stands reserved for corporates, sponsors, association members and complimentary fans, the 40,000-capacity stadium was filled across the eastern and northern stands due to lower priced tickets.

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Gayle lights up fans with sensible batting

Chasing a modest target of 156 runs in 20 overs to get back to winning ways, RCB's dangerous batter Chris Gayle did not disappoint the home crowd, as he anchored the innings after the quick departure of the other opener Parthiv Patel and captain Virat Kohli in the first two overs.

Though the Jamaican could not play in the first four games in the UAE due to a back injury, he was back in his elements on his home turf, with two mighty sixes and four racy fours lighting up the stands and sending the boisterous fans into a frenzy.

"We have come here only to watch Gayle, who takes the opposition bowling by the scruff of the neck and plays shots that are expected in the T20 format. It is a sheer joy to see him hitting fours and sixes effortlessly with perfect timing and remaining cool all the while," said college student S. Anandan.

Gayle, however, disappointed fans by getting out early for a paltry 27 in 19 balls in the seventh over when the team was struggling at 38 runs.

(Posted on 05-05-2014)