Chennai – It was carnival time at the Chepauk, which was filled to its brim for the first time this season for the grand finale of the Indian Premier League-V between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders here Sunday.
A host of bigwigs from the world of cricket, Bollywood stars and also cricket officials from Pakistan made it a starry night at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium where Super Kings were chasing a hat-trick of IPL titles.
While Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan, whose entourage comprised a host of celebrities from tinsel town, wore grim look as his bowlers leaked runs against Super Kings, it was celebration time for Super Kings’ fans as their famed batting lineup raised their hopes of retaining the title.
It was “whistle podu” time at the Chepauk, which looked painted in yellow, the jersey colour of Super Kings, as three sealed stands were thrown open for accommodating around 12,000 fans to increase the seating capacity to 40,000.
India’s national anthem was played before the start of the match, charging up the Indian players in the two sides and attracting applause from the overseas cricketers.
Bollywood was high in attendance with King Khan egging on his team. The newly-wed couple of Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia De’Souza, who started her career in Tamil films before shifting to Mumbai, and director Sajid Khan were seen cheering for Knight Riders.
“My heart says Knight Riders, but my mind says Super Kings. I sincerely hope that Knight Riders win today,” said Sajid.
Deshmukh concurred, saying Knight Riders deserved to win.
“I feel Knight Riders deserve to win this season. They have been the best team of the tournament and having made their first final in five years, I feel they deserve to win,” he said.
The title clash also marked an end of Indian cricket boards’s felicitation of former international and first-class cricketers who were honoured with a one-time payment for their achievements in the sport.
The former players attending the ceremony included Sunil Gavaskar, Farokh Engineer, Ravi Shastri, Javagal Srinath, S. Venkatraghavan and Bishen Singh Bedi.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) dispersed Rs.70 crore to 69 cricketers during the play-offs of IPL-V.