IPL mania grips Mumbai, finally

May 31st, 2008 - 8:21 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, May 31 (IANS) The final stage of the Indian Premier League has caught the imagination of the Mumbaikars though two local favourites, the Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, are out of the race for the IPL trophy. The franchise owners of the Mumbai Indians slashed the prices of entry tickets at the venue for the semi-finals at Wankhede Stadium Friday and Saturday at the last moment. The outcome was a huge turnout at the first semi-final match between Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals.

At the Wankhede stadium, venue for the semis, tickets for the Vithal Divecha Stand have been priced Rs.400 as against the original Rs.6,000, while it was Rs.1,000 instead of Rs.5,000 for the Sunil Gavaskar upper stand.

Punjabi pop star Sukhdev who stays in Mumbai told IANS: “I have made special preparations to watch the match at my friend’s place on a giant screen. I have been an unabashed supporter of Kings X1 right from the start of the tournament.”

Murad Sundrani, promo director with Zee Studio channel who is an ardent follower of the IPL matches said: “I am going to see the match on television. I do wish the Mumbai Indians had been there in the finals. It would have been really great to see our team playing on home ground for the final trophy.”

Same with an ardent cricket aficionado and statistician, Dukool Pandya, livng in Vile Parle. “I am planning to watch it in the comfort of my home with family and neighbours. We are also planning a small bhelpuri and sherbet party to add spice to the proceedings,” he said.

On Sunday night, the sodium vapour lamps-lit streets of satellite town Navi Mumbai, hosting the IPL final, will be chockablock with vehicles.

The Navi Mumbai police expects an unprecedented 12,000 vehicles in and around the D.Y. Patil Stadium, the venue for the match, with a capacity of 55,000 spectators.

Navi Mumbai police chief Ramrao Wagh told IANS: “You can very well expect around 12,000 vehicles, not just from Mumbai but also from Pune and Goa.”

Wagh said that it was not just the security issue “that is on our mind. Even managing traffic is a top priority for us. Sunday night is the time when there is a very heavy traffic flow between Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Goa. Many people who spend their weekends in Lonavala return around Sunday night and Nerul, where the match is scheduled, is a transit hub for Goa as well as for Pune.”

Traffic cops from both towns - Mumbai and Navi Mumbai - have chalked out a joint strategy to tackle the large number of vehicles expected.

Wagh said that 800 local policemen along with 300 men from private security agencies would be posted in and around the stadium.

“Apart from deploying the local constabulary, we are have also decided this time to press half a dozen sniffer and guard dogs in the stadium near detectors,” Wagh informed, adding that additional forces like bomb disposal squad, strike units and quick response team would also be kept ready in the vicinity.

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