Crowd bedazzled by gala opening
It's something that fans expect before the start of any sporting event. Because Saturday's doubleheaders were scheduled to start before sunset and the opening ceremony was a lot about lights and fireworks, it was scheduled for after the matches. Following delays during the games, it started well beyond schedule but it was worth the wait.
The speeches took up some time in the beginning after the teams marched into the ground but the show featuring colour, light, sound, music and dance of various kinds was crisp. Given that of the eight teams standing on the ground, four had played earlier in the day, it was good for those tired limbs that the opening show was over on less than an hour.
Most of the lead-up to IPL II had been about India and the exhibition of modern India in South Africa.
The opening ceremony was a refreshing change in the sense that it presented a lot of things which were South African.
The Zulu dancers, Djembe drummers, Pantsula dancers and Gum Boot set the stage alight with a riveting show.
Few in the stands were sitting in their chairs. There was a chill in the air and the overcoats or woollens that went unused in the afternoon were out. But in keeping with the promotional tagline for the competition, the Heat was On. Thousands in the stands were gyrating to the tunes being belted out.
After an acrobatics show and a quick laser display, theme Africa was back, in the form of fire dancers. This stunningly agile and sprightly lot drew maximum applause. With the stadium engulfed in darkness, the circles of fire accompanied by fiery music created an electric atmosphere.
A glittering fireworks show brought the curtains down on what was a huge day in the history of T20 cricket. Who knows? Maybe in the history of cricket as well!