It was expected to be a packed house at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday given the top two teams of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) fourth season were facing off in Qualifier One. However, to everyone's surprise, the Churchgate venue was not even half-full, thanks to the high pricing of tickets.
Only the Sunil Gavaskar Stand, where each ticket was priced at Rs 500, was full. Consequently, the cheerleaders were seen shaking a leg in front of empty stands a rarity in the IPL where the atmosphere at most venues has been quite enthusiastic.
A member of the Mumbai Cricket Association remarked: "Who will spend Rs 5,000 and 7,000 for a Twenty20 match? They shouldn't have hiked the price so much. Let's see how the crowd responds to the Mumbai vs KKR match tomorrow."
The Wankhede groundsmen, who were unable to get autographs of India stars skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin after the World Cup win here on April 2, finally met their heroes when the Royal Challengers Bangalore clashed with Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier One of the IPL-IV. The ground staff got their signatures on a stump, which was used in one of the World Cup matches.
"We were eagerly waiting for this match as we wanted Dhoni and the other players to autograph the stump. We have now got signatures of the entire World Cup-winning squad. The WC win was a proud moment for us too. We worked hard to prepare the wicket," said a groundsman.