Though it was not a jam-packed stadium that greeted Sunrisers Hyderabad and Pune Warriors India playing their 2013 IPL opener at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday night, the glamour element was very much evident even as the crowds had fun soaking in the atmosphere.

Former Miss World Diana Hayden was seen chatting away with badminton champ Saina Nehwal and tennis star Sania Mirza. It was indeed a treat for the crowds to watch two aces in the company of a beauty queen!

Sania supporting Warriors

Sania Mirza, brand ambassador for Sahara India, was there to support the Pune Warriors. “Sunrisers’ captain Kumar Sangakkara is a classy batsman and a wonderful captain. I wish the home team the best of luck. But I am here to support Warriors which has my very good friend Yuvraj Singh,” she said.

Getting down to business

V.V.S. Laxman, donning the role of mentor, was taking the throw-ins from former Pakistan fast bowling great and now bowling coach of Sunrisers Waqar Younis, to give some catching practice to local boy G.H. Vihari, Cameron White and Parthiv Patel. Former India captain and mentor Krishnamachari Srikkanth was also seen chatting with the players trying to making them comfortable.

Then, there was South African speedster Dale Steyn and the tall Ishant Sharma, who were focused on bowling, indicating that they clearly meant business.

‘White Lightning’ in action

Not far away, from the Sunrisers camp was another South African fast bowling great Allan Donald. Nicknamed ‘White Lightning’ in his playing days for his torrid pace, Donald was seen chatting animatedly with the Pune Warriors lads in his new role as bowling coach for Warriors.

Huge roar for Yuvi

The 2011 World Cup player of the series and the one who has fond memories of this venue, Yuvraj Singh, too looked in his elements. Returning to the ground where he hit a double century in his first four-day match after battling cancer, he seemed to be ready for the big challenge. Yuvi was moved by the huge roar from the crowd when he was shown on the giant screen. “I am happy to be back here, which has always been a lucky ground for me,” he said.

With weather God being kind over the last two days, the match was off to prompt start thanks to the wonderful job done by the ground staff led by chief curator Y. L. Chandrasekhar.

The copy has been corrected for typographical error

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