Updated May 24th, 2024 at 22:12 IST

Stands full in Chennai but buzz missing without MSD and CSK playing IPL Qualifier 2

There were hardly any takers for the counterfeit jerseys by street vendors. The cops could afford a smile even while keeping a hawk eye on the moving traffic.

MS Dhoni | Image: X/@ChennaiIPL
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The long Wallajah Road stretch which leads to the MA Chidambaram Stadium never looked so empty at 6 pm on an IPL day.

A bustling beehive on match day, the area was shrouded in relative silence during the Qualifier 2 between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday. It probably is the home to the largest number of sports goods and apparel shops in the city but as you walk past them, stacks of unsold yellow jersey jostle for your attention.

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There were hardly any takers for the counterfeit jerseys by street vendors. The cops could afford a smile even while keeping a hawk eye on the moving traffic.

Welcome to the 'Thala-Land' on an IPL day. But the 'Thala' or his beloved Chennai Super Kings weren't playing a high-stakes IPL game.

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CSK and that buzz starts from 4 pm on a 7:30 pm match day are now a part of Chennai's sporting identity.

Of course, there were those odd Orange shirts and pink jerseys slowly trudging towards the Chepauk gates.

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"Macha, I have always been a regular at CSK matches. I had three tickets and I wasn't finding any takers for those. Finally, me and my friends decided that no point in wasting tickets for a Qualifier 2. We will just support good cricket," CSK devotee Arun Pradeep said.

The biggest losers were the counterfeit jersey sellers who would at least make close to Rs 20,000 on a CSK match day with MSD's No. 7 shirts flying off the shelves in minutes.

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On this day, they managed to sell a few Pat Cummins and Sanju Samson shirts.

While all those who had thought that CSK would sneak into the playoffs as the fourth team and may be playing the second Qualifier, ultimately filled the stands.

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But the electric atmosphere that one is used to during a CSK game was nowhere to be found. However, BCCI and TNCA won't mind the presence of 29,255 spectators inside a 33,000 capacity stadium.

The day was a stark reminder of the value Dhoni brings in the IPL's landscape. There were footfalls but suddenly the soul was missing.

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Published May 24th, 2024 at 22:12 IST