It was literally “Shor In The City” – as if an entire segment of the city had turned up at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium to watch Dhoni and his men maul the Deccan Chargers.

Neither the sultry evening nor the weather officials' forecast of rain for the next 24 hours dampened the spirit of the youngsters and the elderly gathered at Chepauk. The build up was gradual, as slow as the trickle of people who filed into the stadium from 6 p.m. Some like Swetha, Partha, Radhika and Ajai, all in their twenties and working in TCS, had come early hoping to grab seats.

They made placards to cheer Chennai Super Kings and got themselves colourful red horns and a rainbow wig. For Partha, a resident of Chennai, it was a grand occasion. This was the first time he was watching a live match. “I had to persuade my parents, telling them I was going with my friends. Otherwise they would not have allowed it,” he said. As the stadium filled up, the music also grew loud – a large dose of Rajinikant film numbers such as ‘My name is Billa', ‘Kilimanjaro' and ‘Devuda, Devuda', rent the air. It was a sea of yellow, with T-shirts and flags in support of CSK. The only few blue flags in support of Deccan Chargers fluttered from the VIP lounge, where the IPL officials and former cricketers were seated.

Beverages and food flowed freely and finally people settled down as the game began.

The few initial fours elicited much excitement but when the batsmen could not score runs the crowd in the pavilion turned to K. Srikkanth who was sitting in the VIP enclosure. Children and adults sought his autograph.

When Dhoni hit his first six, the crowd roared. Waves of CSK moved from left to right. But the wickets had them upset. The crowd reserved its biggest cheer for the huge sixes that almost touched the roof. The crowd took Morkel's big six and Dhoni's exit with the same verve. If youngsters were content to be part of the whistling and cheering crowd, some elders were keen that CSK should win the match, calling for better performance from the men in yellow.

Between every over music came on and many in the crowd danced with gay abandon, excitement writ large on their face.

Though there were enough seats for asking, some youngsters complained they did not get tickets. Gopal, Lovelace, Bharat and Raunak stood outside the stadium. “We had Rs. 1,500 with us but we could not get tickets,” said Bharat.

The boys had taken a trip to Spencer's Plaza as they were early for the match and ended up spending Rs.500. “The lowest ticket costs Rs.500, so we could not watch the match,” regretted Bharat. “Anyway, we will come back for the next match,” he said.

Keywords: IPL 2011

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

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