The hit parade is here | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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The hit parade is here

Beer mugs clinked, whistles and cheers reverberated, and mayhem ensued as the first wicket of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2010 was taken, and the roars in the stadium from the television screens at Mumbai Times Café in Bandra were drowned by the din of revellers, reports HT Correspondents.

mumbai Updated: Mar 13, 2010 02:08 IST

Beer mugs clinked, whistles and cheers reverberated, and mayhem ensued as the first wicket of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2010 was taken, and the roars in the stadium from the television screens at Mumbai Times Café in Bandra were drowned by the din of revellers.

Across Mumbai, the frenzied vibes of cricket mania were felt as the city welcomed the third season of the IPL.

At Mumbai Times Café, four hardcore Kolkata Knight Riders (three Bengalis and one Shah Rukh Khan fan) supporters wore KKR jerseys, groaned at every wicket and cheered at every run scored by their favourite team. Sports marketing manager Avinash Singh (29), the SRK fan, said: “We are travelling to Chennai, Kolkata and Dharamsala to watch the Knight Riders in action” Nearby, another Kolkata native, Suhasree Chatterjee, too cheered for KKR but for a different reason. “I’m betting on them against my friends because I’ll get really good odds since they are the underdogs.” She left her bank job slightly earlier than usual with five colleagues to watch the match.

Cricket buff Sahil Sabnis also wrapped up work early to be part of the IPL frenzy. “I am going to go a friend’s place at Napean Sea Road where we have arranged for a projector,” said Sabnis, who works for an infrastructure software company in Navi Mumbai. The 25-year-old also bought the Rs 5,000 ticket for Saturday’s Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals match being held at Brabourne Stadium. “I am just about to go buy the new Mumbai Indians jersey!” said the Sachin Tendulkar fan.

Some people, however, didn’t need to leave office at all. As the match timings clashed with the working hours, Affinity, an online advertising firm in Andheri, brought the game to the office. “It’s not possible to wrap up work by 6 pm, so we set up a projector screen in our recreation room instead,” said the company’s business development head, Anand Nanivadekar (24).

Some cricket enthusiasts in office were engrossed in playing ESPN’s online fantasy league series where gamers are allowed to choose their dream team from the current pool of IPL players and give their teams a name of their choice, simulating the real IPL series. “If ones chosen players do well in reality during the series, his/her points go up with a chance to win prizes,” explained Nanivadekar.

Sports Bar at Lower Parel seemed to be the hub of all IPL action. The crowd didn’t deter some cricket enthusiasts from standing by the door to watch the match with a mug of beer in hand. Anticipating the hysteria, Jatin Shah (30) and Rupesh Shah (30) came in at 6 pm to catch a comfortable seat by the bar, right in front of the main projector screen. “We didn’t want to miss the opening ceremony, so we came in early,” said Jatin.

Those who couldn’t find a place at the overcrowded Sports Bar, opted for TGIF at Palladium Mall, like Saurabh Atkekar (26). The banker, who works at Lower Parel, said: “The Rajasthan Royals are my favourite team, but I love cricket so I am going to watch all the matches. Unfortunately, Sports Bar was packed so we had to come here.”

A testament to the popularity of IPL was the screening at the Manchester United Café. Despite being a football lover’s joint, it was packed with IPL fans, the entry charge of Rs 500 notwithstanding. The restaurant was forced to stop entry post 8 pm as it ran out of space.

While no one seemed interested in Deepika Padukone dancing at the opening ceremony, all eyes at the Sports Bar Express at Colaba were riveted to the TV as soon as the coin was flipped at the toss. “It’s a novel idea to screen the IPL in bars. There’s a different charm in finding out you have something in common with a room full of strangers. Give it a few years and IPL will overtake the English Premier League. I am happy that the Deccan Chargers are playing in Mumbai as I can cheer for my home team in Mumbai,” said Raghu Ramchandran (28), an Andheri-based architect and a Hyderabad native.