Bangalore, Oct 4 :
Frenzied fans in thousands flocked to the Chinnaswamy stadium here Saturday to watch a cracker of contest between reigning IPL title holders Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) tournament.
With rain gods keeping away from a partially cloudy sky and cool breezing setting in over the city, a carnival like atmosphere gripped the floodlit stadium despite tight security and traffic chaos around the venue.
Though a neutral ground for both the teams, this is the second time KKR is playing in a T20 final here this year after winning the IPL trophy (seventh edition) for the second time, defeating Kings XI Punjab in a thriller June 1.
“It is exciting to watch a T20 final under floodlights on a weekend in the midst of festival holidays. Luckily, the best two teams (KKR & CSK) are in the final, which is worth the money,” Murali Krishna, a college student from Mandya, about 100km from here, told IANS in the eastern stands.
Unlike during the league matches when most of the stands were virtually empty, the 40,000-seat stadium was packed to capacity for the final, as hundreds of fans from even Chennai came in droves to watch their favourite team play here.
Incidentally, a league tie between CSK and Lahore Lions was a wash out Sep 25 due to record downpour in the city.
Sharukh keeps away but partner Juhi makes up
Bollywood badshah and KKR’s co-owner Sharukh Khan was conspicuously absent in the pavilion at the final though his co-owner and co-star Juhi Chawla was present in a fairytale white dress, cheering the team players and clapping when Robin Uthappa, Gautham Gambhir, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan hit a four or a six over the fence.
Indian Test opener and Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Shikhar Dhawan was also seen with his wife and son in a VIP box, enjoying the game.
Fans root for local lad Robin Uthappa
Kolkata’s in-form opener Robin Uthappa, a local lad who plays for Karnataka, was the toast of the die-hard fans, as they rooted for him to take on CSK’s bowling, which has been somewhat inconsistent during this tournament.
When CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first, the fans cheered Uthappa as he walked into the middle with his skipper Gautham Gambhir to open the innings.
Though Uthappa took time to settle down, he ably supported Gambhir is putting up a solid 91-run first wicket partnership, scoring 39 in 32 balls with the first six of the innings in the fourth over and four hits to the fence.