People say absence makes the heart grow fonder. On the eve of the second qualifier here on Friday, it was found that not only the love for IPL was greater this year among the fans, getting the chance to watch a qualifier has injected more enthusiasm. Missing out on league matches has turned to be boon.
Not only the fans, CSK management is also happy to get IPL engagements back to their captain's hometown. Asked if the familiar surrounding at captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's backyard will hold any advantage, CSK coach Stephen Felming said, "I hope so. We played a lot last year here obviously and it was key part of that season and some emotional connection because of skipper's home town. So we are hoping it will be good for us.
"But we know it's not all. When it comes down to competitive matches, I guess it's just the improvement from the side to make sure we do the job, it doesn't matter what surroundings you are in. If you don't play well enough you won't get the goodies. So we got to play well."
Interestingly the fact that tickets are sold out may not guarantee a fullhouse. Some had booked the tickets hoping they will get to see Mumbai Indians and thus, former stars Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Jonty Rhodes, who have retired as players, here.
"Watching Dhoni vs Virat will be a treat for us. Dhoni didn't play in last match (India vs Sri Lanka ODI in November) here. We will get to see him tomorrow. But I wanted to see Mumbai here because of Sachin, Jonty and Ponting. They don't play now, so this was the chance to see these greats of the game here. Unfortunately we missed the chance. Many of my friends and acquaintances had booked tickets anticipating Mumbai Indians would play here," Pratap Kumar from Chutia said.
However, Mumbai or no Mumbai, a cracker of a match awaits Ranchi in the sweltering heat with a promise to send the mercury higher.