It was indeed a blockbuster Friday for Ranchi.
First, brawny Bollywood star Salman 'Chulbul' Khan regaled fans with his larger-than-life antics on the silver screen, ensuring a good opening for Dabangg 2. And then, it was Shah Rukh 'King' Khan's turn to add fever pitch to the reel fun.
Come May, the Baadshah's men will make the state capital groove to korbo, lorbo, jeetbo re as the sprawling greens at the new international cricket stadium in Dhurwa hosts its maiden IPL matches.
According to the final fixtures of Pepsi IPL 2013, released following an organising committee meeting in Jodhpur on Friday morning, Ranchi has bagged two Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) matches on May 12 and May 14 in the sixth edition of the T20 extravaganza.
The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) received a formal intimation and the schedule from the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) in the noon.
At 4pm on May 12, SRK's boys led by Gautam Gambhir will clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore. The second match will be played between KKR and Sahara Pune Warriors from 8pm on May 14.
This IPL season, as many as 11 venues ' including the Jharkhand capital ' have been chosen for the matches, which will also see the debut of Sunrisers Hyderabad. KKR will take on Delhi Daredevils in the inaugural clash on April 3 at Edens Garden, Calcutta. The tourney will conclude on May 26.
"The year ahead will be a historic one for cricket in Jharkhand. January will see the international stadium debut with an ODI on the 19th between India and England. Then, we have a double IPL delight. Cricket buffs here never had it so good ' they will find themselves on the perfect pitch with game and glamour," said JSCA spokesperson Manoj Kumar.
Insiders revealed that a celebrity cricket tournament was also on the anvil after the ODI, when Bhojpuri film stars will play against Team Bollywood. It was learnt that Jharkhand superstar Manoj Tiwari has sent a proposal to JSCA chief Amitabh Choudhary in this regard a few weeks ago. However, an official announcement is yet to be made.
On how Ranchi received a slice of the IPL pie, Kumar maintained that the JSCA chief had been pursuing KKR owner Shah Rukh Khan on the matter for long. The latter too had been looking for alternatives to host matches in eastern India, both in terms of wider reach and revenue generation.
In the last week of November, a three-member committee ' comprising representatives from KKR and IPL's organising committee ' visited the world-class cricket infrastructure in Ranchi. They also reviewed logistics such as accommodation and transport facilities.
Though none of the panel members interacted with the media during the visit, JSCA officials had maintained that they were happy both with the stadium and other facilities.
"But, it's official now. We have bagged IPL matches and the JSCA will put up a great show," Kumar said, adding that preparations for the first international match scheduled on January 19 were also on in full swing. "All sub-committees are playing their roles to the letter. Preparations are in final stages."