Although the sparsely filled spectators seats at the PCA stadium in Mohali failed to do justice to the seasons opening match at the home ground,the initial few minutes into the match were a sight to behold. Adam Gilchrist,skipper of Kings XI Punjab,on winning the toss was greeted by rapturous applause from the crowd.
Straight after facing two defeats in a row,Kings XI Punjab set their foot at the home stadium to take on Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors India in the hope of opening their account in the IPL season 5 points table.
The T-20 extravaganza,which is taking place in Mohali after a gap of a year,seemed to have lost its sheen in terms of generating interest among the fans. Apart from offering fabulous cricket,Kings XI Punjab management hired two Punjabi singers to sing peppy songs before the match,though there were hardly any takers for the song and music.
When the match started,the usual buzz was missing at the stadium,which has a capacity of holding 28,000 people. The PCA stadium is known for its fantastic cricket ambience where fans dance in the aisles,flags flutter in the air. However,as the match progressed,fans kept pouring in.
Also,the PCA pitch and conditions not to forget the previous night thunderstorm that lashed the city with torrential rain helped the Kings XI Punjab bowlers,who got to swing their balls,going.
As a result,Pune Warriors batsmen,Jesse Ryder and Sourav Ganguly,got out within the first five overs. The fans were disappointed to see Ganguly walking back to the pavilion for 16,when Dimitri Mascarehenus got him out.
After first strategic timeout,Harmeet Bansal got the wicket of Angelo Mathews to restrict them to 51 for 4 in nine overs. As the match progressed,more spectators poured in to fill the empty stands.
Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline,Shivay Sharma,18,an ardent cricket fan,said,The KXIP pacers have set up the match. I am sure they will restrict the Pune to a limited target and win the match. The PCA wicket assists the pacers and Gilly has used his resources well. We all are anticipating the home team to win the match and get the points.
As the Pune wickets tumbled,KXIP co-owner and Bollywood star Preity Zinta,clad in the KXIP colours,kept jumping up and down in glee. One can easily say that apart from cricket quotient,Zinta has also been a crowd-puller for KXIP in the previous seasons and one hopes that she will do the same this season as well.