Hello and welcome to CricketCountry’s live coverage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 9 opening ceremony. I am Shiamak Unwalla and it is my genuine pleasure to I have been tasked with bringing you all the live updates of the glittering completely unnecessary opening ceremony of IPL 9. There will be performances from the likes of Bollywood stars such as Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Yo Yo Honey Singh. Even international pop singers will be performing live. Chris Brown and American electronic music group Major Lazer will grace the event as well. The main tournament is set to begin from April 9 with Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants opening the account. This time IPL will witness 8 teams with inclusion of two new teams Gujarat Lions and RPS. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Match 1 at Mumbai

Free at last, free at last! The opening ceremony has finally finished. It lasted for around 2 and a half hours, which is around 2 hours too many. Join us tomorrow for the real cricket IPL. I hope you enjoyed the coverage of this enthralling opening ceremony as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. See you tomorrow when Mumbai Indians take on Rising Pune Supergiants. Good night!

Major Lazer is now performing. They start with the fan favourite ‘Lean On.’ I never understood that song. Why would I want anyone to lean on unless I’m unable to stand by myself? Oh it’s a party song. And people are always intoxicated at parties. That makes sense. Although frankly I need someone to lean on (and cry on) after this opening ceremony. They are now imploring us to ‘Watch Out for This’ without clarifying what exactly we’re supposed to watch out for.

Ranveer is out here wearing I don’t even know what, but boy can he work a crowd. Here’s what I think happened. Majer Lazer (or however it’s spelled) was taking time to get ready so someone was like, “Yaar Ranveer ek kaam kar thoda timewaste kar na bhai jab tak apna setup na ho.” (Ranveer, buddy, please help us out by faffing around till we set stuff up). He invites all the poor souls who have performed today on stage. Ranveer, Jacqueline, Honey, Katrina, and DJ Bravo. And now they’re all doing the Champion Dance. Bravo is teaching the dance to the others. Katrina and Jacqueline are absolutely not doing it properly. Ranveer is straight up mutilating it. Shockingly Honey is the only one who’s doing a decent job of it. But he stops midway through and claps instead. And Major Lazor is finally ready so Ranveer chucks everyone off stage.

 

There’s a mock game of cricket and the late great Tony Greig’s commentary (so completely out of place here! :'( Poor Greig must have turned in his grave) starts playing. Ranveer is lowered from the roof wearing what looks like diamond-covered (probably just glass) cricket gloves, pads, helmet and bat. He does a few pelvic thrusts and shakes his body. AND HE STILL PULLS IT OFF. This dude is special. Anyone who can pull off looking like an idiot with such confidence certainly has real talent. The gloves, pads, helmet, and bat have gone. And a red trench coat has appeared. I have no idea what that was, but it was enjoyable. I’m not saying it was good, but it was enjoyable. Much like IPL.

Kochhar is now interviewing David Miller. Miller suggests that since he doesn’t like the name ‘Killer’ Miller he should now be called ‘Chiller’ Miller. Funny guy. Priety Zinta Goodenough says she will kill Killer Miller if he becomes Chiller Miller. Poor Miller offers a defeated smile. Hey, you gotta do what the boss says, right? (Especially now that appraisals are just ’round the corner). Ranveer Singh (that guy from that durex ad) is going to perform a dance now. I must admit, I like this guy. I’m actually looking forward to this.

Yo Yo Honey Singh is here to do his thing. He is performing a couple of his hip hop songs. Dwayne Bravo and Champion is a tough act to follow, and Honey is clearly suffering from a lack of crowd enthusiasm. One of his songs says “Chaar bottal vodka kaam mera roz ka” which translates to “I have 4 bottles of vodka everyday.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the quality of his song-writing.

 

Here’s DJ Bravo with Champion! Pollard and Simmons are grinning in the audience. Pollard stands up and does the Champion Dance. The song goes on in the background, and Bravo is singing along. The audience is clearly into it. People are smiling and jiving in their seats. He’s now singing ‘Chalo Chalo’  the song he sang last year. Singer Ankit Tiwari walks out and performs an Indian version of Champion!

 

Katrina Kaif has come out riding what I can only describe as a giant watermelon. What even is this opening ceremony? Wait, is the Dhoom theme playing? She wasn’t even in that, was she? Oh wait, she was in Dhoom 3. People are wearing green halos and waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care. And it’s over. Good news though, Bravo’s Champion Dance is up next!

Sanjay Dutt and his wife Maanyata are being interviewed by Rochelle. Sanju Baba says his favourite is Sachin Tendulkar but since he isn’t playing this year he’s looking forward to watching Virat Kohli play. He also says he will miss Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Sourav Ganguly.

The REAL heroes of IPL are now on stage. Rajeev Shukla (or is it Rajiv? He doesn’t know either. Don’t believe me? Check his own Twitter handle!) and Anurag Thakur. Mr Shukla speaks about how great the IPL is. And this year it will be bigger and better. The captains now sign the trophy and get a group photo with Thakur and Shukla.

HE’S HERE! The living legend himself, Mr Ravi Shastri! He says the words “MCC Spirit of Cricket” and I do a double take. Then I realise it’s just a signing of a whiteboard. The IPL skippers will skip out (haha, see what I did there?) and give their autographs. First up is Delhi Daredevils’ Zaheer Khan. Next it’s Gujarat Lions’ Suresh Raina. Then Kings XI Punjab’s David Miller. Now Kolkata Knight Riders’ (n)ever-smiling two-time IPL-winning Gautam Gambhir. Next it’s Rising Pune Supergiants’ MS Dhoni, whose name evokes the loudest cheer I have heard tonight. Then it’s Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli, whose name is accompanied by a cheer to match what Dhoni got. Next the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner. And finally, the defending champions Mumbai Indians’ and local hero Rohit Sharma. Rohit fumbles with the cup for a while and Miller helps him to unhinge the trophy. Rohit is laughing at his own clumsiness. Zaheer has a smile as well.

 

Dwayne Bravo is looking slick in a white suit. He talks to Rochelle about the T20 World Cup win as well as his upcoming performance of the Champion Dance. That’s probably going to be the highlight of the day. Kochhar asks Parthiv whether he preferred the dance performance from the actual dancers or whatever it was Jacqueline did. Parthiv leaves it alone as if it were a bouncer bowled by Shoaib Akhtar. He goes around asking people random questions. Lendl Simmons was trying hard to avoid making eye contact and looked relieved when Kochhar went past him.

Sameer Kochhar is back! He thanks Jacqueline for her performance. And now we move on to the next thing. People are playing dhols and now a troupe of hip hop dancers called Kings United are actually doing a pretty good job. Can we cancel all the Bollywood people and get actual, real dancers like these guys? These are some of the most flexible Human Beings I’ve seen in my life. Look at them go! This was a genuinely good dance performance. Even Jonty Rhodes looked impressed, and he’s lithe as a panther.

Jacqueline Fernandez is starting proceedings by dancing. There are a lot of men in metallic masks and women flapping their arms and making angel signs. I have no idea what is actually going on, but I can tell you it’s not cricket. But then, IPL is not cricket. Entertainment FTW! Women are now jumping and pumping their fists. And now moving their arms like windmills. Perhaps they are attempting a sophisticated bowling action? Giant rave sticks have made an appearance. Jacqueline is acknowledging the crowd (which doesn’t really seem very vast). And it’s over. Phew.

Rochelle Rao is here (well, on TV, not in our office) to take us through the highlights of last season’s IPL. Apparently Ranveer Singh is going to perform too. He said something along the lines of “I love rehearsals, mai bohot karta hu.” Yes, Ranveer, we know. Oh Katrina Kaif will be performing as well. Wasn’t she dating Ranveer at some point? Or was that Ranbir Kapoor (Help me, I’m way out of my depth here!)? And now Priety Goodenough (that’s her new name, isn’t it?) is talking about how she hopes her team Kings XI Punjab will win. Jacqueline Fernandez says something about this being her first time too. Yay cricket. READ: IPL 2016 Schedule, Time Table, Fixture PDF Download

Check out the collective awesomeness in this picture!

 

The leading run-scorers in the tournament will be awarded with the Orange Cap, and the leading wicket-takers of the IPL 2016 will be given the Purple Cap.

Below is the full list of teams and squads for which will fight for top honors in Indian Premier League (IPL 9) 2016:

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Akshar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Johnson, Wriddhiman Saha, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Kyle Abbott, KC Cariappa, Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien, Pradeep Sahu, Armaan Jaffer, Swapnil Singh, Rishi Dhawan.

Delhi Daredevils (DD) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammad Shami, Saurabh Tiwary, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Agarwal, Jayant Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Sanju Samson, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Sam Billings, Chama Milind, Pratyush Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Saeed Khaleel Ahmed, Akhil Herwadkar, Pawan Suyal, Joel Paris (ruled out). ALSO READ: Delhi Daredevils team in IPL 2016 Preview: Zaheer Khan led squad looks to break the jinx in IPL 9

Mumbai Indians (MI) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ambati Rayudu, Jagadeesha Suchith, Jasprit Bumrah, Parthiv Patel, R Vinay Kumar, Shreyas Gopal, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Unmukt Chand, Akshay Wakhare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Corey Anderson, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Marchant de Lange, Lasith Malinga, Jos Buttler, Nathu Singh, Tim Southee, Krunal Pandya, Kishore Pramod Kamath, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Adam Milne, Mitchell Starc (ruled out), Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Akshay Karnewar, Iqbal Abdullah, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas, Abu Nichim, Sreenath Arvind, David Wiese, Kedar Jadhav, Sreenath Aravind.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Gautam Gambhir, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan. Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, John Hastings, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Ashish Reddy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bipul Sharma, Karn Sharma, KL Rahul, Naman Ojha,  Ricky Bhui, Shikhar Dhawan, Siddharth Kaul, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Deepak Hooda, Mustafizur Rahman, Aditya Tare, Barinder Singh Sran, Ben Cutting, Vijay Shankar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Tirumalsetti Suman, Vipul Sharma.  ALSO READ: Sunrisers Hyderabad team in IPL 2016 Preview: Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra to strengthen ‘Orange Army’ in IPL 9

Gujarat Lions (GL) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aaron Finch, Eklavya Dwivedi, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Jaydev Shah, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe, Pradeep Sangwan, Amit Mishra, Shivil Kaushik, Aksh Deep Nath, Sarabjeet Ladda, Umang Sharma, Paras Dogra. READ: Gujarat Lions team in IPL 2016 Preview: Suresh Raina-led lions aim for guttural roar of triumph in IPL 9

Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) TEAM FOR IPL 2016: MS Dhoni, Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Ashwin Murugan, Albie Morkel, Ishant Sharma, Kevin Pietersen, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ashoke Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Adam Zampa, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary.