IPL fever is at its zenith in Odisha. Cricket fans from across the state have already started camping in Cuttack to witness the Twenty20 cricket match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings at Barabati stadium in Cuttack tomorrow.
Over 2,000 spectators turned up at the stadium today to watch the Kings XI Punjab players practising in the afternoon. The Chennai team arrived in Bhubaneswar this evening.
“Though I have tickets for the matches, I have come from Angul a day ahead to witness the practice session when I can watch the cricketers from much close in the nets. I’m sure Wednesday’s match will go down to the last ball,” said Subrat Mohanty, a cricket fan.
The Punjab team, co-owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, arrived in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, but preferred to stay in the hotel for the past two days.
Today, the players practised under the watchful eyes of coach Sanjay Bangar, who happens to be the only Indian coach in IPL-7. Along with the regular drills, the players had batting, bowling and fielding and catching practice.
After the Chennai match, Punjab will lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) owned by Shah Rukh Khan on May 11 at Barabati. The Punjab team has triumphed in five of their six matches this season. However, all their wins came in the UAE, where the first leg of the IPL was held. The team lost its first match on IPL’s return to India against Mumbai Indians, which did not win a single match in the UAE.
Cheteshwar Pujara said the Punjab team was ready for tomorrow’s encounter. “We are in good spirits and all the players are match ready,” said Pujara, who opens batting with Virender Sehwag.
Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) officials said Wednesday’s match would be a high-scoring game. “The pitch has a certain amount of grass,” said pitch curator Pankaj Patnaik.
Police have made a three-tier security arrangement for the match and the stadium has been sealed from tonight. Police personnel were deployed at the stadium during today’s practice session and they will also be stationed for tomorrow’s match. “Anti-terrorist squads will be deployed for both the matches,” said police commissioner R.P. Sharma.
Unlike previous occasions, the OCA will allow fans to take water bottles inside the stadium.
Courtesy: The Telegraph
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