Whirring turnstiles keep IPL franchisees happy

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The IPL works like magic; it tempts the unacquainted and the expert to make a beeline to the stadium to catch up with some mesmerising Twenty20 action.With almost a third of the Pepsi-IPL-8 matches played so far most franchisees ought to be pleased with the turnstiles ticking away for home matches.

Clearly defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) has benefitted from the large turnout at the Eden Gardens for the opening two matches against Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers, Bangalore. Gautam Gambhir’s KKR began well defeating MI, but lost to RCB in the second match.

Talking to The Hindu, IPL Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman said: “There has been a constant overflow of spectators at all venues. Eden Gardens has the maximum capacity and hence the maximum turnout will be there. We cannot share the official numbers now; we will do that at the conclusion of the IPL.”

While there are popular teams like Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and KKR, sources well informed about online booking and over-the-counter sale of tickets vouch that any match featuring Chennai Super Kings attracts the maximum crowd, so much so that Sunil Gavaskar wished he was in the business of printing tickets for CSK’s IPL match at the Wankhede Stadium.

A local official at Motera said that 45,000 people punched bar-coded tickets at the Sardar Patel Gujarat stadium for the match between the Royals and CSK last Sunday; it was a 4 p.m. start and Mahendra Singh Dhoni appreciated the massive response in spite of the heat. Playing his first match of the IPL-8 Shane Watson said “Hopefully the heat doesn’t cook up too much.”

In fact the Royals were cheered all the way by 37,000-plus spectators in the first home match against MI and by a record 43,000 in the second match against CSK. Having Rahul Dravid as the mentor has helped. The capacity at the Motera venue is 43,000. The Royals chose Motera for four matches and the Brabourne Stadium at Cricket Club of India for three.

Mumbai’s cricket fans are not really complaining with ten league matches (7 of MI at the Wankhede) and in addition a play-off match allotted by the IPL governing council on Monday.

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