Super Kings beat Knight Riders in IPL opener
Chennai: Defending champion Chennai Super Kings pulled off a thrilling two-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament on Friday.
Super Kings fought back after South African Jacques Kallis hit a 42-ball 54 that included seven fours to put Knight Riders in control as the visitors chased 154 for victory in the day-night match at the Chidambaram Stadium.
But the Knight Riders middle-order buckled as Eion Morgan was stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Indian all-rounder Suresh Raina and lost Gautam Gambhir, who was run out, in the same over.
Knight Riders finished with 151 for seven after 20 overs.
Earlier, it was lights, camera and action at the decked up M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, the home of champions Chennai Super Kings, as the 2011 Indian Premier League was accorded a royal welcome yesterday.
Less than a week after the World Cup, the clear skies over the city lit up with fireworks and artists entertained a packed gathering during the opening ceremony.
Massive crowds converged on the refurbished stadium well ahead of the 6.30pm opening ceremony that was compered by former India player and television commentator Ravi Shastri. The sell-out crowd seemed to enjoy every moment of the hour-long programme.
Percussionist Taufiq Qureshi set the drums rolling with a couple of renditions, and was followed by popular singers Sona Mohapatra, Canadian-Indian Kunal Gunjanwala and Sunidhi Chauhan, who all belted out hit numbers that turned the stands into impromptu dance floors.
The hot and humid conditions relieved by spells of sea breeze added to the frenzy that Shastri did well to whip up in between the performances, some of which were marked by oomph.
No doubt, the star of the evening was Bollywood king Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) who opened with the massively popular Chak de, India! that has almost become an iconic number played at sports arenas across the country.
The crowd went wild thereafter when SRK mimicked Tamil superstar Rajnikanth, speaking the local lingo with surprising fluency. He was then joined by actress Shreya Saran in a popular dance number followed by a couple of other songs.
The IPL has been the platform for many domestic players to showcase their talent and pitch for an India cap.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar, who declared the tournament open, hoped the Twenty20 tournament would provide the breakthrough for many domestic players eager to make a mark in the international arena.
The IPL has become bigger this time with two new franchises — Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors — competing alongside eight teams in the 51-day tournament.
"I welcome the two new teams, Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors. We wish them all success in the tournament. I look forward to good performances from all teams," he said.