By Debaleena Paul
Ok the last time we told you how much we were impressed with the IPL Opening Ceremony and the first 2 matches !
Indian Premier League, founded by Lalit Modi (a former Vice President of the BCCI – Board of Control for Cricket in India) and modeled after the ubiquitous Barclay’s Premier League, began its journey in April 2008. The first season saw 8 teams battle it out across the country, with Chennai Super Kings emerging victorious under the captaincy of ‘Mahi’, a.k.a the charming Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The success of this inaugural season dragged millions of cricket lovers to the stands in the subsequent years, making IPL the fastest growing sports event in the subcontinent. After all, the league combined the 2 ‘C’s which every Indian cheered for – Cinema and Cricket. Business tycoons Mukesh Ambani and Vijay Mallya, and Bollywood heart-throbs Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty Kundra were early entrants into the organization, buying out the franchises Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals respectively. King Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders remains a hot popular amongst many since Day 1, with the highest auction price of 175 million USD, falling second only to Subrata ‘Sahara’ Roy’s Pune Warriors India (price 370 million USD), that entered IPL in 2011. The combined value of the 9 functional teams this year stands at 1.2 billion USD.
The arguments against the abbreviated T20 format can be bountiful in number. However, even ardent cricket fans will find it difficult to deny that the league brings together the best of the cricketing world. The novel idea, of breaking away from national boundaries and challenging one’s national team member, was a far cry from traditional cricket. The league is a concept that has instilled maximum entertainment and enthrallment in the hearts of the Indian crowd.
IPL is now back for the sixth year in a row. As I write, I witness the excitement of masses live on television as the 2012 runners up Chennai Super Kings take on Mumbai Indians at the MA Chidambaram Stadium of Chennai. Rajasthan Royals opened their box office a while ago, by beating Delhi Daredevils by 5 close runs. Yesterday, Sunrisers Hyderabad too, proved its worth by bagging a convincing win against Pune Warriors India, in its first ever season of IPL.
I vouch for the defending champions, Kolkata Knight Riders this season. Who is your favourite?
Gear up for the upcoming matches this evening:
07 Apr 2013 :
Pune Warriors India vs Kings XI Punjab
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore