As some of the well-dressed ladies started to walk the ramp, a unique feature ahead of the Deccan Chargers’ home games, at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium on Sunday, the 55,000-capacity stadium was half empty.
Some wondered if it was going to be a repeat of the inaugural night. On March 12, as the sprawling facility hosted a glittering opening ceremony followed by the Chargers and KKR match, about 70 per cent seats were occupied.
But, by the time Kemar Roach ran in to bowl the first ball of the innings, all seats were taken.
No prizes for guessing who caused the turnaround. “When you have an opportunity to watch Sachin in full flow, you won’t let it go,” Pratik Agarwal, an engineering student, said while boarding an auto-rickshaw at the Nerul railway station. “MI are on a winning streak. We are not used to watching them topping them the table,” he said.
On entering the stadium, one could hardly see a spectator wearing a Chargers’ jersey in what was technically their home game. On the other hand, fake Mumbai jerseys were being bought outside the stadium in numbers. “I didn’t know it was the Chargers’ home game,” Aseem Joshi, a software consultant, said as he cheered a Tendulkar boundary. “I have come here with friends to support the Mumbai Indians. They will be the champions.”
Even though the Chargers’ white flags started waving as the Mumbai batting stuttered, those supporting the latter far outnumbered them.