A hurriedly scrawled ‘match cancelled' sign on a piece of paper near the internet ticket redemption counter at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was the proverbial last word as the DLF Indian Premier League semifinals have been shifted to Mumbai's D.Y. Patil Stadium.
The matches scheduled on April 21 and 22 were moved out of Bangalore following the low intensity blasts at the venue here on Saturday evening.
The sighting of another bomb near the main gate on Sunday morning only hastened the decision that was revealed by IPL chairman Lalit Modi.
In an official press release issued on Sunday evening, Modi said: “While reluctant to relocate the semifinals at such a short notice, yesterday's incidents have made it clear that the current environment in Bangalore prevents us from continuing with our original plans.
“The incidents were assessed by local police and the IPL's security agency as being of a minor nature but they have forced our hand. This decision is naturally disappointing for the people of Bangalore but has been taken with the tournament's best interests, and the interests of its many varied stakeholders, in mind.”
The disappointment in Bangalore was echoed by Brijesh Patel, who in his dual role of being the KSCA secretary and Royal Challengers Bangalore's CEO, had informal parleys with the city police commissioner Shankar Bidari along with the KSCA president Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar.
“Bidari assured us high security and told us that the semifinals can be held here. He said that the police will take charge of the venue and the surroundings two days in advance.
“Bidari said that the entire area will be sanitised. However, the IPL council has taken the decision to shift the matches to Mumbai. May be the bomb they diffused near Gate No. 1 today morning made it worse for us. I feel that the players also may have expressed their concerns,” Patel said.
On the mood within the home team, Patel said: “The players within the RCB camp are okay but just that we all feel that we will miss the home advantage while playing the semifinals in Mumbai.
“I can talk as much as I want but the critical thing is that the IPL's security officers should be convinced about the ground situation here."
The updated schedule (all matches at Mumbai): First semifinal: Mumbai Indians vs Team No. 4, 8 p.m., April 21; Second semifinal: Team No. 2 vs Team No. 3, 8 p.m., April 22; Third place playoff: 8 p.m., April 24; Final: 8.30 p.m., April 25.