Cafeterias and food stalls below the stands did brisk business on Thursday. While they were sceptical about a full house initially, but by the time the dampener of an opening ceremony got over, Eden Gardens was brimming with close to 70,000 spectators.
At the outset, the business was slow, but when the heavy downpour came — and delayed the toss by more than an hour-and-a-half — the area under the stands was the best place to hang around.
The last T20 match at the Eden — between India and England last year — was a breath of fresh air as more than 50,000 turned out. The preceding five-match one-day series saw sparse turnouts across the country and Kolkata was no different. But Thursday was another day.
The Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan arrived around 7.40pm, accompanied by chief minister Mamata Banerjee and a posse of ministers. Rain was playing spoilsport then. But as the skies cleared and the covers were taken off, the roar from the stands gradually drowned the blasting music.
As time elapsed, people started dancing to the tunes of popular Hindi numbers. IPL was back at the Eden, with a promise to match the hype around the home team.