About 20,000 did-hard cricket fans late Friday flocked to the Chinnaswamy Stadium here to watch the first match of the Champions League Twenty20 between home team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Warriors from South Africa.
Though the hype and hoopla that gripped the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2011) was visibly absent, the fans were excited when the toss-winning Warriors put RCB to bat first and its bit-hitter Chris Gayle opened up in the second over with one four and one six and followed it up with another four and a six in the third over.
With the memory of the West Indian southpaw’s pyrotechnics in the IPL fresh in memory, the fans were, however, disappointed when Gayle departed in the fourth over for mere 23 caught by Warriors' skipper Johan Botha to a Wayne Parnell delivery.
“I came to watch the game as the home team (RCB) is playing the first match of the tournament. Am bit disappointed to see Gayle go soon after a few quick shots,” said Murali Krishna, 23, a sales professional.
The third edition of the Nokia Champions League started with musical performance by rap singers Jay Sean and Flo Rida followed by the entry of batting (RCB) and bowling (Warriors) teams onto the green outfield on a breezy autumn night.
The squads with their respective captains were led onto the field by a flag bearer each carrying the team flags as the night sky was lit up with fireworks.
A two-minute silence was observed by the players and officials in homage to former Indian skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi who passed away in New Delhi Thursday.
Even hundreds of fans in the stands joined the teams during the sombre occasion.
The stadium in the city centre was turned into a fortress with about 1,000 police personnel deployed in and around it as part of heightened security.