IPL Diary: 'Watch' out for Virat's sixers!

From M. Chinnaswamy's readiness to Virat Kohli's flurry of sixes, Bengaluru gets a sneak peek of what's in store on Sunday night.

Virat Kohli has been in remarkable form this IPL season, amassing 249 runs in six games.   -  AFP

The endless oohs and aahs interjected the long gasps of ‘watch, watch’ that reverberated through the empty stands as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli unfurled a flurry of sixes while batting in the nets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Anything short on leg-stump disappeared over deep mid-wicket while width outside off was launched over extra-cover with majestic disdain.

READ: Middle-orders in focus as desperate RCB takes on KKR

However, it was Kohli’s short-arm jabs — dispatched over cow corner with brute force and immaculate timing — that had the sparse crowd in the P1 stand running for cover. As the stylish right-hander ran amok with the bat, a group of exuberant youngsters could be seen pleading with Ramesh Mane, acupressure masseur RCB, for a chance to roll their arm against Kohli.

The requests, nevertheless, fell on deaf ears even as Mane himself ran up and down the long-on boundary to evade facing the wrath of Kohli's willow.

Chinnaswamy gears up, yet another time!

The M. Chinnaswamy stadium, located in the heart of Bengaluru, has stood witness to many a memorable moment in the annals of the game.

The great Sunil Gavaskar's swansong innings against Pakistan in 1987, the debut Test of West Indian greats Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards in the winter of 1974, and in more recent years, Michael Clarke's breathtaking hundred on test debut in 2004 and the tied ODI match between India and England from the 2011 World Cup; only the fourth tied game in the history of the marquee event, to name a few. 

Now, as the venue gears up for the Indian Premier League encounter between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, the preparations are in full swing. The 40,000 capacity cauldron is decked up in shades of black and red — RCB's team kit — with the centre wicket receiving last-minute attention from the ground staff. 

A police outpost has been created abutting the main entrance and a team of cops have been deployed at the outpost which would function round the clock on match day. 

 

Serving on opposite side of it is the Manipal Medical Command centre where large chunks of ice have been stocked, lest there is a medical emergency during the match. 

 

Meanwhile, there are around 200 waste bins, clearly marked, at various points in the stadium to ensure the venue remains spic and span.  "A mechanical sweeper will be deployed to ensure that roads around the stadium are spotless," N. S. Ramakanth, a member of the BBMP’s Expert Committee on Solid Waste Management, had told this publication earlier. 

As one takes a stroll towards the 27 feet high and 15 feet wide 'Wall' — made of 10,000 bricks — built to commemorate one of India's greatest cricketers Rahul Dravid, the delicious aroma of Indian cuisine fills the air; turns out a crew of chefs from The Taj are engaging their culinary skills to keep the staff well-fed. 

Suffice to say, organising a cricket match — let alone an IPL contest — is an exercise in time management and this one comes without a two-and-a-half minute strategic time-out. 

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