IPL Diary: Gala final on cards in Ahmedabad

After three years, the Indian Premier League final will be played in the country. And, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has ensured that it leaves no stone unturned to make the moment memorable. While it had decided not to organise an opening ceremony for the tournament, keeping the COVID-19 protocols in mind, the Board plans a gala event for the final in Ahmedabad. With a hundred per cent crowd allowed for the mega event, the Board has roped in Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh and music maestro A. R. Rahman to spice up the closing ceremony, which is expected to be a 40-minute affair.

While the dance sequences will be choreographed by Shiamak Davar, the Board has appointed TCM Platform to plan and conceptualise the event.

The board will put up a special show, chronicling the journey of Indian cricket over the last 75 years, in line with the Indian government’s ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ initiative to commemorate 75 years ofIndependence. “With Ahmedabad hosting the final, we will celebrate 75 years of Independence of the country, marking the journey of Indian cricket with a special show,” the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly toldSportstar.

According to Arati Singh, the content director of the ceremony, “For the first time, we will use Augmented Reality to bring alive the different eras of cricket. Along with A. R. Rahman, this will be a befitting homage to the 15 years of IPL and to the game that has given us so much..”

To accommodate the closing ceremony, the IPL final has been postponed by half an hour and will now begin at 8 p.m., instead of the regular 7.30 p.m. start.

Success mantra

The gimmickry of the Indian Premier League is everywhere — from the huge billboards and catchy advertisements featuring cricket stars to the splash of colours on display at the stadia and the various schemes to engage fans, who are showing no signs of tiredness after six weeks of constant coaxing by big business. Even in the stifling summer heat of Mumbai, games in both afternoon and evening saw near-capacity crowds come out to cheer for their teams and shout their lungs out in a carnival atmosphere, especially when witnessing their favourite player score some runs, take a catch or effect a dismissal.

Constant entertainment is the mantra, it seemed; fans can’t be allowed to sit still even for a minute. Floodlights at the D. Y. Patil Stadium dazzled to create a disco-like mood when one-half of the contests were over. And to add to the thrill, when those lights were being deliberately switched off for brief moments, fans responded by switching on their torch lights.

During those three games the Diary covered at DY Patil, only rarely did the loud, incoherent noise made by the fans reach a crescendo. It assured the Diary that it wasn’t so much the gimmicks that made fans loyal to the IPL as the superstars on whom they invest their emotions. Their joy knew no bounds as M. S. Dhoni struck two sixes and a four to provide the finishing touches to Chennai Super Kings’ innings against Delhi Capitals. It made sense, too, that the entire stadium was yellow, and they had a ball as their team had their best performance of 2022.

Jasprit Bumrah’s five-wicket haul against Kolkata Knight Riders evoked a similar response the next day. But the excitement all fizzled out soon after as Mumbai Indians unravelled during the run chase.

No matter, there’s no time to brood on it; on to the next.

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