Bengaluru: With the ninth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) peaking and the city hosting one play-off (qualifier) on May 24 and the final on May 29, frenzied fans continue to flock to the Chinnaswamy Stadium in droves in the scorching summer heat despite their home team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) faring badly and struggling to stay on course for a place in the semis.
“Coming to the stadium with family or friends for at least one IPL match is an outing for me. As the games are held at 8pm daily or 4pm on weekends, it is easy to plan despite traffic and parking problems. Watching them from stands is sheer fun, as IPL is not just cricket but a three-hour entertainment,” said K. Somnath, a techie, who came to see RCB take on debutant Gujarat Lions on Saturday here.
As each team plays seven league ties on home ground and seven away, RCB will play its last match here on May 18 against Kings XI Punjab though it has two away games against Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata on May 16 and Delhi Daredevils at Raipur in Jharkhand on May 22.
Of the five games RCB played on home turf in front of a packed stadium, with about 30,000 frenzied fans backing it, it won just two – over Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 12 and Rising Pune Supergiants on May 7, but lost to Delhi Daredevils on April 17, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on May 2 and Mumbai Indians on May 11.
“Though I too watch IPL games at home on TV after a day’s hard work with family and get to see re-plays, it’s passive and one-sided without the excitement that I get here despite noise, jostling and congestion in the stands,” said Mohan Kumar, a marketing executive. He was lucky to enjoy RCB maul the Lions in their own den by scoring 248/3 in the stipulated 20 overs, with its skipper Virat Kohli and one-down AB de Villiers hitting centuries and setting new records in the IPL.