The mist slowly rose over the Table Mountain and the opening day opening show did take off in grand style. And so did Mumbai Indians, thrashing Team Chennai by 20 runs in the IPL 2 opener.
Much like the tournament itself, the first game was in doubt when it started raining on Saturday morning. But as it settled down into a beautiful afternoon at the picturesque Newlands, the ball finally rolled.
Far away from home, there was everything in it that gave one the feeling that it was happening at the Chepauk in Chennai or DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.
The colour, the passion, the excitement, and even the dog intrusion which held up the game for close to 15 minutes, there was a slice of home away from home.
The Indian players, too, adjusted beautifully to the conditions with Abhishek Nayar (35 off 14 balls) smashing three sixes off an Andrew Flintoff over to turn the game on its head.
The cheerleaders went crazy, so were the fans, and when Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan finally appeared later in the afternoon, it was time for some Bolly good entertainment package.
The only thing that was probably missing was the hushed silence of an Indian ground when a wicket of the home team fell.
Here, there’s no home team and each fan is a neutral and they danced to the sixes and the wickets of both the teams in the same way, adding a whole new dimension to the IPL.
Sachin Tendulkar (59 no off 59 balls), too added a new chapter to the T20 form, showing the importance of sheet-anchor in this variety of the sport as Mumbai managed a fighting total of 165.
Man of the match – Sachin Tendulkar
There’s a reason why many term him as the greatest batsman ever. The ball was swinging and bouncing under overcast conditions, but T20 requires you to get on with it! So what does Sachin do!
He settles down quietly and concentrates on holding one end up while playing his normal strokes. The result: A superb, unbeaten 59 off just 41 balls with seven delightful fours.
It gives Mumbai Indians the platform to fight. He was dropped early on in his knock, but that doesn’t take away anything from another masterly essay. Yes! Sachin may choose to not play in T20 for India, but he rocks here too.
Hayden drops the game
In the fifth over, Andrew Flintoff makes one rise sharply on Sachin Tendulkar, who inside edges it on to his pads. Matthew Hayden, standing at first slip, drops a sitter.
The Mumbai all-rounder walked in in the 15th over, and the Mumbai Indians were crawling. Nayar’s 35 off 14 balls changed the tempo of the game. He smashed Flintoff for 22 runs in the 18th over, including three sixes.
Zaheer’s catch off Hayden
Matthew Hayden had smashed 44 off 35 balls and looked to be taking it away from MI. The burly Aussie tried to crash Sanath Jayasuriya through covers, but Zaheer Khan dived and picked up the ball inches off the ground to pull off a blinder. Haydos was gone, and MI were well and truly on top!