A glitzy mix of Bollywood razzmatazz and high-octane performances, including that of West Indian cricketer Dwayne Bravo’s smash-hit rap ‘Champion dance’, marked a glittering opening ceremony which set the ball rolling for the ninth edition of the IPL at Mumbai on Friday.
The two hour and 15 minute long event was less spectacular as compared to the previous editions but the cine stars still managed to put up an entertaining show, enthralling the gathering at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Stadium at the National Sports Club of India.
Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez and Punjabi rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh kept the audience glued to their seats during the opening gala attended by the BCCI top brass, franchise team owners, players and support staff of all the eight participating teams.
The crowd at the indoor stadium enjoyed every bit of Bravo’s much-anticipated ‘champions dance’. In white blazer and black trousers, Bravo, a part of the West Indies World Twenty20 winning team, swayed to his ‘Champion dance’ as the fellow cricketers and crowd cheered him.
Bravo also danced to another number ‘Chalo Chalo’ and was joined on the stage by Bollywood playback singer Ankit Tewari who sang an Indian version of ‘Champion’ -- ‘Hindustan Mein Bade Bade Champion.
Like earlier opening ceremonies, the cricket segment was short and limited to only the oath taking ceremony by the skippers of the eight teams. Indian team Director Ravi Shastri ushered the eight captains to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge for fair play.
Zaheer Khan (Delhi Daredevils), Suresh Raina (Gujarat Lions), David Miller (Kings XI Punjab), Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Rising Pune Supergiants), Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore), David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) took the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge one by one.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit placed the trophy back on the podium and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur joined the skippers on stage.
Cricket will take over from Saturday when Mumbai Indians open the defense of their title against new outfit Rising Pune Supergiants, led by India’s World Cup winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.