Narine and Klaasen replace Dhoni on fan jerseys

How often have we heard the words, mood, energy and ambience? On Sunday evening at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, the atmosphere was festive and bubbling with anticipation.

From the Marina Beach till the hallowed precincts of Chepauk, it was a breeze, literally. Driving past the beach front and into the veritable cauldron that the stadium turned into an hour before the toss, fans turned up in fair numbers.

No Chennai Super Kings, no yellow fever. It was KKR colours and SRH, orange like the sun. The T-shirts worn by fans were lovely. There were so many ‘Sunil Narine’ and Klaasen’ jerseys in the stands. This is the passion, the energy.

From Thala Dhoni to Narine and Klaasen, the change of shirts is symbolic of shifting loyalties and the IPL’s broad appeal. It was steaming hot, almost like a sauna. The decibel level was piercing ear drums, unless you had plugs.

Before entering the stadium, the security was noticeable. Government security plus private agencies – both very efficient. Cell phones allowed, no back-up chargers, nothing which could be a security hassle.

After all, just a week back, four ISIS terrorists were arrested at the Ahmedabad airport. These days, venues handle security in an unobtrusive way. And Chennai has always been known for cops being very strict.

The build-up to the finale has been hot and humid but no one minded as the rain, hopefully, will stay away. Like a true sport.
After more than two months of nonstop IPL auction, there was no fatigue for fans. “We love T20 cricket, we love this action. It’s bold and beautiful,” said Samyukta and Sahana, two fans who had come from Coimbatore.

Chennai is no longer about ‘Madrasis’. This is now a multi-lingual city and the IPL is in itself a language – pure cricket, though of the instant variety.

This will be a high-intensity night for fans, no matter what the heat, who wins the toss and how the match pans out.

Unadulterated action, with sixes and fours is what fans want. If bowlers can fire, pace and spin, that will be a joy.

Now you know why fans love IPL and lap it up. “Sooper”, as they say in the Chennai lingo. Over to the two best teams, KKR and SRH.