The city is all set to rock again with the inaugural Champions League T20 bash slated for an 8 pm kick-off on Thursday.
Hosts RCB and the South African T20 domestic champions Cape Cobras, who will face off in the opener, wound up their preparations on Wednesday morning itself allowing for the other entertainers – the dancers, drummers, et all – to take over the Chinnaswamy Stadium in order to rehearse their respective acts ahead of the much-anticipated opening ceremony that will feature a few top international acts as well.
The pressure will certainly be on hosts RCB. Having qualified for the CL T20 thanks to their runners-up status in the second edition of the Indian Premier League, barely one year after they brought up the rear in the first IPL – ironically one place above IPL II winners Deccan Chargers – the expectations are now higher. No-hopers when season two began, they now find themselves as one of the fancied sides in the tournament that will decide the world’s best domestic T20 side.
Their side is not exactly about domestic players though, even if two of the biggest names from the state are part of Indian cricket folklore.
Skipper Anil Kumble and his long time compatriot Rahul Dravid played their parts well in IPL-2 with some good support from Kiwi Ross Taylor and South Africans Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe. That will pretty much be the rule even now.
All four foreigners are slated to take the field with Dale Steyn set to miss the opening game at least. Like in the IPL, only four players from outside India are allowed to play and with the likes of Praveen Kumar and the ever impressive local lad R Vinay Kumar making up the pace attack along with Kallis, there can be no place for Steyn, one of the world’s fastest bowlers.
Visual extravaganza: Grammy award winner Chaka Khan, Japanese drummers, Kerala Kalaripayattu artistes and Chinese Shaolin monks, pop artistes will prove some great spectacle and entertainment during the opening ceremony of the Champions League T20 at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Thursday.
Grammy winner Shaggy too will perform his hit single Feel the Rush. A multi-hued laser show, school children performing a choreographed sequence to the theme song of Champions League and a whole lot of events ewill regale the opening day’s crowd before the cricket action begins at 8pm.