Ganesh Chaturthi

‘Stayed back as this is our last chance to see Dhoni play’

30 May,2023 07:46 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Shriram Iyengar

City fans on how they braved the rains, found overnight accommodation and stretched their leave to catch the delayed final

A full stadium moments before the rain, on Sunday

The sudden downpour, which drowned out the final of the IPL between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings on Sunday, threw a spanner in the plans of many Dhoni fans who had gathered from different parts of India. While many returned, a few, including Mumbaikars, stayed back.

Mumbaikars Udit Thakkar is among several cricket fans, along with those from Chennai, Delhi and other cities, who travelled to Ahmedabad for the IPL final on Sunday. However, the unexpected rain changed their plans.

Udit Thakkar

Sharing their experience on Sunday evening, Thakkar told mid-day, "The main issue was that people were annoyed by the rain and wanted to leave the stadium quickly. But the announcement of match cancellation was delayed. Other than that, the crowd behaved just fine."

Once out, Thakkar and four of his friends decided they won't be deterred by the rain gods. They extended their stay, in the hope of watching the final and seeing CSK win.

Bhayandar East Yash Dodia (in blue T-shirt) and Om Shah (in yellow T-shirt) from Malad West with their friend, at the stadium

"We had bookings for only one day, with a plan to check out after the match. We had to find a new place when the match was pushed to Monday. They were available, but understandably priced a little high," Thakkar said.

The extended stay gave him an opportunity to meet more supporters from Chennai. "We met many fans from Chennai. A couple in their 60s, who are staying at the same hotel as us, has also decided to stay back," he shared.

(Left) Mumbaikar Archan Pradhan at the stadium with his friends

For Om Shah, a resident of Orlem in Malad West, the rain was certainly a dampener, but he couldn't let go of the opportunity to watch M S Dhoni play in the yellow jersey. "We had arrived in Ahmedabad on Sunday and had booked a return ticket for Monday. But, being a Dhoni fan, it was my last opportunity to watch him play. Hence I decided to stay back. We were lucky to get an extension at the hotel. We just need to reschedule our bus ticket back to Mumbai.

"Many people were upset when the match was postponed because of the rain and they headed back to their hometowns. But there were some who decided to leave only after watching their favourite cricketers play," Om Shah said.

Yash Dodia, who had travelled to Ahmedabad from Navghar in Bhayandar East with Om and another friend from Mumbai, said that they waited at the stadium until 11.30 pm for the match to start. "But, it was moved to Monday. It was not that bad an experience, thanks to all the fans with whom we had long and fun conversations. We will return home after watching the match."

Archan Pradhan, a 34-year-old Mumbaikar, was among the many office-goers who extended their leave to watch the final. A Mumbai Indians fan, Pradhan had purchased his ticket in the hope of seeing Rohit Sharma and co. in the finals. "I just hope Gujarat Titans win, because I don't want Chennai to win five trophies, the same as us," he added.

Speaking about the bad weather, he said, "It did not stop fans from staying back for the reserve day." Pradhan recalled meeting fans from Delhi as well as Chennai. He said that quite a few people spent the night at Ahmedabad railway station, too.

On Sunday, a few people faced a little difficulty while leaving the Narendra Modi Stadium, previously called Motera Stadium, as the parking was quite far, Thakkar said. "Also, it was difficult to find rickshaws in the rain," he added.

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