Kings XI Punjab are taking on Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 7 final © IANS (File Photo)
Kings XI Punjab are taking on Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 7 final © IANS (File Photo)

 

Bangalore: June 1, 2014

 

Thousands of frenzied fans swarmed into the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium hours before the Indian Premier League (IPL) 7 final began Sunday evening between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders amid tight security.

Even before the stadium gates were opened at 5 p.m., hundreds of fans stood in serpentine queues on a hot day to enter the stands after a quick frisking by cops and security guards.

“It’s exciting to be here to watch an IPL final being held in Bangalore for the first time. Though the home team [Royal Challengers Bangalore] failed to make it, it’s worth the money to see best teams clash for the title,” Manoj Kumar, a post-graduate student from Mysore, told IANS.

Elaborate arrangements have been made at the venue to prevent any untoward incident and ensure safety and security of fans, players and grounds staff.

“We have deployed about 1,000 personnel around the stadium to provide fool-proof security. We have installed about 50 closed circuit television cameras at strategic locations to monitor movement,” a senior police official said.

Much to the relief of the police, the notorious grid lock for which the city is reputed, was averted in the vicinity as vehicular traffic was less.

“We have taken a number of steps like banning parking of vehicles 1 km around the stadium, regulating movement of vehicles and restricting heavy vehicles to avert traffic jams and crowding,” the official said.

Hawkers and vendors had a field day, selling flags, caps, jerseys and placards.

Many fans were seen getting their cheeks painted in the colours of both teams.

With clouds and rain gods keeping away, about 40,000 die-hard fans packed the stadium for a cracker of a contest.

In line with its tradition, the glittering trophy was displayed at the pavilion end flanked by both the teams along with local boys and girls as the National Anthem was rendered.

“It’s thrilling to be here as the IPL final is being played in Bangalore for the first time. It’s a fun time as there is more entertainment, colour and noise than a serious game of bat and ball in the middle,” management trainee Sunita Kumari said as the match got underway.

Bollywood stars and celebrities also were in the limelight

It was a big night for Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta as both are co-owners of the Knight Riders and Kings XI, respectively. A bespectacled Khan was seen with his daughter Suhana in the front row of the pavilion while Zinta was at ground zero with the team’s support staff.

As the Knight Riders opted to field, Khan watched the game keenly, tracking every ball and looked tense on occasions when Kings XI batters Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha ripped his bowlers apart.

In contrast, Zinta was all fun and frolic, cheering at almost every ball being hit either for a four or six or smart running between the wickets.

Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia was also seen in the pavilion waving and greeting fans when he was noticed on the giant screen as cameras zoomed on him.

Being an IPL final and a Sunday, besides senior Board of Control for Cricket for India (BCCI) officials, including interim president Sunil Gavaskar and IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal, scores of former cricketers and present players were in the VIP stands with families.

 

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