For the pigeons that live on the terraces of the Chinnaswamy, this was shock and awe. Light, sound, and flying leather came together in a spectacle never seen before in cricket’s 150 years.
<b1>The build-up had spurred great expectations, and what followed went far beyond that. Music, dance, acrobatics, a laser show and firecrackers combined in an explosive cocktail of colour and spectacle. Shankar, Ehsan and Loy had 55,000 fans screaming, only to have the American NFL’s shapely Washington Redskins cheerleaders and Dutch stilt dancers take their breath away.
And then, there was Brendon McCullum. He dazzled in a T20 innings never seen before, smashing 13 sixes in a 73-ball 158, and giving the IPL a start that has probably ensured packed stands across India for the next month and a half.
The result: Sourav’s gladiators in gold helmets first blasted the bowlers away and then took the wind out of Bangalore’s sails with some penetrative bowling. And when Ponting hugged Ishant Sharma after the rookie had sent back Dravid, the global flavour to the local billion dollar extravaganza was complete.