The ninth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) got off to a colourful start with a star-studded and glittering opening ceremony at the National Sports Club Of India (NSCI) .
With a galaxy of cricketers from across the globe, stars from the entertainment world and other dignitaries filling the stands, the 120-minute plus programme saw the country’s Twenty20 tournament take off in style.
The gala started when actor and Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandez danced to the tunes of some hit Bollywood numbers “Yaar Na Mile Te Mar Jawan”, ” Party On My Mind ” and “Sooraj Dooba Hain.”
Then came a young and talented Kings United group and the dancers group from Nalasopara here showcased their skills and body flexibility leaving the crowd mesmerised.
The performance was followed by former Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri inviting the captains of the eight franchises to the stage to take the MCC’s Spirit of Cricket pledge. The captains signed the pledge to maintain spirit of the game throughout the tournament.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla subsequently welcomed the audience for the ninth edition of the competition.
“On behalf of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) I would like to welcome all for the IPL opening ceremony. IPL 9 will be better and best compared to other editions. IPL is not about just entertainment… it is about cricket all the way. Like the league has brought up young talents, this year will also do so,” he said.
Next up was actor Katrina Kaif danced to the tunes of her famous numbers “Dhoom 3”, “Bang Bang”, “Afghan Jalebi Yaa Baba”, was followed by a performance by none other than West Indies star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who danced and sang his song “Champio”. He was later on joined by India’s Ankit Tiwari.
Then came India’s star rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh who entertained the crowd by singing his favourite songs like “Mai Tere Laila O Mere Laila”, “Dum Dum Bum Bum”, “Love Dose”, “Chaar Botal Vodka”.
He gave the stage to Bollywood hearthrob Ranveer Singh dancing to his favourite numbers like “Tattad Tattad Ramji Ki Chaal”, “Tune Mari Entry”, and “Malhari” and then the much-awaited performance by musical group Major Lazer.
The last performance of the night was by American singer Chris Brown, who sang his heart out to make the evening a memorable one for the large number of fans gathered at the venue and millions watching on TV.
Season 9 of the hugely popular cricket league will have two new franchises of Pune and Rajkot.
The new western Indian city teams are filling in for Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings who were barred for two years following an illegal betting scandal that rocked the Twenty20 three years ago.
The corruption allegations have taken the sheen off IPL, with an estimated brand value of $3.5 billion. (IANS)