Fans shrug off Bangalore blast to rock stadium

Bangalore, April 20 (IANS) Frenzied fans came in droves late Saturday to rock the Chinnaswamy stadium, shrugging off the terror blast here Wednesday for an exciting Pepsi IPL-6 T-20 match between hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), led by local lad Rahul Dravid.

With unprecedented security cover turning the stadium into a fortress, thousands of fans had tough time in reaching the venue in downtown and entering the stands as they had to go through stringent checks by baton-wielding cops and gun-totting guards.

"As the city has been on high alert after the bomb blast in the north-west suburb, we had to enforce stringent security in and around the stadium to ensure the safety of players and thousands of fans and prevent any untoward incident," a senior police official told IANS at the main gate.

Besides deploying about 1,000 police personnel, including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Rapid Armed Force (RAF) around the stadium, a bomb squad and a dog squad were pressed into service to detect explosive materials and sniff out trouble makers.

Closed circuit television cameras and surveillance systems were also activated to record movement of fans, vehicles and the high-octane match in the middle.

"Though we were initially apprehensive in coming to the stadium due to the uneasy situation in the city after the blast, weekend holiday and the excitement to watch the in-form RCB team play made us to be here and were surprised to see a capacity crowd across the stands," Biju George, a marketing executive, told IANS in the KSCA club box.

********************

Standing ovation to local lads Rahul Dravid, Stuart Binny

Legendary Test batsman Rahul Dravid and Stuart Binny, who hail from Bangalore but play for RR, were lustily cheered and treated with standing ovation when they walked into the middle to bat in the first half after RCB skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to field first.

Hailed as 'The 'wall' of the Indian Test team for over a decade, the 40-year-old Dravid is a household name in this city of nine million denizens and is etched on a wall in his trademark batting style at the entrance of this pavilion.

When Dravid walked onto the green turf, first to toss and later to bat after Royals opener Shane Watson fell in third over, fans erupted in joy and clapped in unison to greet their local hero though playing for the opposite team.

Though Dravid didn't last long in the middle, as he got caught by Ravi Rampaul of Murali Karthik ball for 35 in the 15th over, for every shot he played and the five glorious boundaries he hit, his die-hard fans rocked the stands, dancing, whistling and screaming.

Stuart, son of yesteryear all-rounder Roger Binny from Bangalore, joined Dravid after non-striker Ajinkya Rahane was out for 14 in sixth over, and the two 'local lads' played for five overs together, contributing a valuable 40-run third wicket partnership.

"Dravid is a sheer joy to watch play even after he retired from first class cricket two years ago. Though an all-time great Test batsman, he has been in good form even in the shorter version of the game. We are all proud of him and miss him play for the home team (RCB). No regrets so long he plays for RR as it is a delight to watch him stroke the bat," said Ganpathy Subramaniam, a college cricketer.

Incidentally, Dravid was the highest scorer with 35 of 31 balls for RR followed by Binny with 33 of 20 balls, including four hits to the boundary and one mighty six over the fence.

********************

Three cheers for RCB's bowling & fielding

The clinical bowling and fielding of RCB came for a lot of praise in the stands, as the home team not only restricted an in-form RR to a paltry 117 for nine wickets in 19.4 overs, but its athletic players caught all the eight catches that came their way.

What's more, none of its five bowlers conceded a single extra either by a no ball, byes, leg byes or even wide, which is common in the T-20 format.

Of the five bowlers, four are seamers - Ravi Rampaul, R.P. Singh, Jaidev Unakdat and Vinay Kumar and one a spinner -- Murali Kartik. Rampaul even managed to bowl a maiden in his 3.4 overs show, taking two wickets, including that of RR opener (Shane) Watson in third over, while Singh and Kumar shared three wickets each.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

AB, Parthiv steady Bangalore in small chase. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »