Around 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, a good four hours before the start of play, Porcupine Tree’s (PT) 'Lazarus’ — a melancholic ballad — blared out of the speakers at the Wankhede Stadium. “Is it going to be soft this year?” asked a fan, dressed in Mumbai Indians (MI) jersey, to his friend. “But they are playing PT, it is going to be trippy,” his friend replied.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) lived up to the trip, but unfortunately, not what the PT fan wanted. It is surreal to imagine a British Rock group calling the shots in the land of the Hindi film industry. “ Woh toh sound check, speaker test ho raha tha (we were checking the sound and the speakers),” said one of the on ground logistic heads.

Read: IPL Diary: Kohli surprise and Dhoni's new bats

The real game still belongs to the Bollywood celebrities.

Within a couple of hours, the Opening Ceremony saw film stars Hrithik Roshan, Prabhu Deva, Varun Dhawan and the crop owning the ground; the spot dancers did as directed.

A few danced, some of them yawned but from a distance, Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen — here for commentary duties — seemed enthusiastic about the grand spectacle.

Blue flags

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is known to have a huge fan base but MI is no less. The blue team flag rested on every seat in the stadium.

The stand guard, who ensured the flags were in place, said in his rustic colloquial dialect: “ Puri ground blue honi chahiye, ye apan ka den hai (the whole ground should be blue, it’s our den).”

Like the T20 format offers surprises, the off-field activities saved one for the CSK fans; right underneath the Sachin Tendulkar stand, a stall offered Mahendra Singh Dhoni tattoos and the spectators lapped it up.


A stall offered Mahendra Singh Dhoni tattoos and the spectators lapped it up. A Dhoni fan displays his tattoo.


Statistics check

The gargantuan LED screen beside the Garware Pavilion endorsed the statistics of the MI players, along with their newly-sketched emojis.

The sketches capturing different moods summed up the nerve of the tournament: “Game on, emotions on!”