Bengaluru, May 2 (IANS) Braving the blazing sun and humidity, thousands of frenzied fans came in droves to the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday in the hope of seeing their home team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) win its maiden game on its home turf in the Indian Premier League (IPL) against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Though nearly 25,000 fans filled most of the stands almost 30 minutes before the game started, the city’s unpredictable weather had its way, as a heavy downpour delayed the match even as groundsmen rushed to cover the pitch and the outfield with tarpaulin sheets.
“We were hopeful the game would start on schedule as it was sunny till the toss was held at 3.30 p.m. though clouds were gathering. Just as the two umpires were getting ready to step onto the ground, the sky opened up and rain started pounding,” an official of the Karnataka State Cricket Association told IANS.
“We hope to begin soon though it depends on how long the rain will continue and the ground will take to dry up.”
As is his wont, RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who won the toss for the fourth time here, opted to field rather than bat even after his team posted an impressive 200 for seven wickets in the previous game batting first against Rajasthan Royals (RR). The match was abandoned on Wednesday night due to heavy rain after the interval as no ball could be bowled.
“We came to the stadium a hour early to watch RCB win at least this match, as it lost the first three games it played here and the fourth one was called off due to rain,” N.S. Murali Krishna, a marketing executive, lamented in the eastern stands.
“Interestingly, they won all the three away games they played so far, unlike last year when they lost most of the away matches. With rain playing spoilsport in the first hour, I am upset the match is held up.”
After winning the first game against KKR by three wickets at Kolkata on April 11, RCB lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets here on April 13, to Mumbai Indians by 18 runs on April 19 and to Chennai Super Kings by 27 runs on April 22.
Before returning to play against RR on April 29, the home team flew to Ahmedabad to win over RR by nine wickets on April 24 and to Delhi to win over Delhi Daredevils by 10 wickets on April 26.
With over an hour of play lost due to the 45-minute heavy rain, the die-hard fans and KSCA officials had their fingers crossed that the soggy outfield would dry fast and that the rain gods will hold up for the rest of the evening.