Chennai Super Kings 153 for 4 (Anirudha 64) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 151 for 7 (Kallis 54) by two runs
It was a monumental challenge for the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) organisers to battle spectator fatigue after an exhausting 43-day World Cup. The inaugural ceremony was essential in brushing aside qualms that the World Cup hangover would affect the excitement of the IPL.
The ceremony lived up to its expectations. If anything, the vocal chords of Chennai’s crowd were even more responsive than when India played the West Indies here on March 20. Most of them had surprisingly arrived at the ground almost four hours before the 8 pm fixture.
The captains, who entered the dais to sign the Spirit of Cricket banner, looked as passionate as they did during previous three seasons — testimonial to the stakes on offer. Sachin Tendulkar being introduced as ‘The Boss’ prompted a huge roar. But the speeches of IPL chairman Chirayu Amin and BCCI president Shashank Manohar lacked the passion of that of former chairman Lalit Modi.
The biggest pops were heard for Kollywood actress Shriya Saran who danced to the famous number “Appadi Podu” along side none other than Shah Rukh Khan. The Bollywood star was seen lip-sync some of the lyrics and that sent the crowd into a further frenzy.
Chennai’s strong batting hadn’t made the most of a generous Kolkata fielding performance and the innocuous attack, which lacked any world-class bowlers. S Anirudha and Suresh Raina capitalised on three dropped chances to power Chennai to a strong 78 for 1, before Raina fell attempting a slog sweep. That slowed the pace down, and despite a six each from MS Dhoni and Anirudha off an over from legspinner Sarabjit Ladda, only 43 came between the 11th and 16th overs.
Chennai needed some big hits towards the end, but a series of slower bouncers from L Balaji and Kallis kept the runs in check. Albie Morkel showed off his strength hitting down the ground, muscling a four and a six off the final two deliveries to lift the score past 150. It hadn’t seemed enough, but Chennai’s spinners thrived on the turn available to ensure the new-look Kolkata side didn’t get off to a winning start.
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