What a cracker of a start for Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) season two. The first match played between Mumbai Heroes and Telugu Warriors ended in a tie.
Top celebrities from Bollywood and Tollywood film industries from India displayed some breathtaking cricketing skills.
The opening ceremony started off with performances by singers Devi Sri Prasad and Atif Aslam. Then it was time for all the teams to take the centerstage along with their owners, captains and brand ambassadors.
Telugu Warriors won the toss and decided to bat first. In the very first over fans could witness a resurgent Mumbai Heroes.
Opening bowler bowled an in-swinger which sent one of the opening Telugu batsmen back to the pavilion.
Sharjah Cricket stadium, which is the home ground of the Mumbai Heroes, came alive with fans screaming and loudspeakers billowing Salman's Bollywood numbers.
In season one, Mumbai Heroes were battered on the field. It was a disaster every time they were on field. But Salman 'Dabangg' Khan promised a revived Mumbai Heroes in season two. "We had taken the game too lightly last time but this time we are all prepared. The boys have practised well and hope to do well," said Salman Khan.
Indeed this first match for the team was not as bad as last season. They were off colour on field with dismal fielding performance but the batsman held their nerves. They took their team closer to victory.
"It was an off day in the field today but we hope to improve," said Sohail Khan owner of Mumbai Heroes.
The Mumbai Heroes also lost an early wicket when they came down to bat. But a solid 104 partnership between Varun Badola and Raja Bherwani saw them sailing through.
At the end of 20 overs, Mumbai Heroes needed to make 168 runs but could only manage 167. The game ultimately ended in a tie. The points were shared 1-1 by both teams. The crowd couldn’t have asked for more.
A nailing biting Salman Khan was also visibly tensed. The crowd was also at the edge of their seats throughout the match.
The second match to be played in Sharjah is between Chennai Rhinos and Mumbai Heroes on 14th January.
EARLIER STORY: Salman Khan on a revenge series in Sharjah after whitewash
The Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) with the promise to be bigger and better kick-starts its season 2 from the Sharjah cricket stadium this Friday.
For the first time the CCL teams will battle it out on an international venue.
The event will see a grand opening ceremony where there will be performances by Atif Aslam and Devi Prasad, followed by a display of cricketing skills between the Mumbai Heroes and the Telugu Warriors. On January 14th the Mumbai Heroes will again take on the Chennai Rhinos at the same venue.
The Mumbai Heroes backed by Salman Khan announced Sharjah Cricket Stadium as their home ground.
After a whitewash season one, Salman Khan promises Mumbai Heroes will not go through the humiliation again. The Mumbai Heroes team line up saw some of the well-known Bollywood stars but they were bulldozed in first season by the other film industries in India.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7 Salman Khan said, "We had a bad season last time but our boys are better prepared this time and we hope to do well".
Team owner Sohail Khan said, "The boys have been practicing well, we have a good team, a good coach and hope to perform better this time".
With six teams, 18 matches and six different venues Celebrity Cricket League comes to the UAE.
The League designed after the IPL (Indian Premier League) brings together six film industries of India on one stage to showcase their cricket prowess.
The six teams represent the six different regional film industries in India. Mumbai Heroes owned by Sohail Khan and captained by Suniel Shetty, Chennai Rhinos lead by South superstar Surya, Karnataka Bulldozers by Kiccha Sudeep and skipper Venkates leads Telugu Warriors.
Season 2 will introduce two new teams- Kerala Strikers and Bengal Tigers owned by Boney Kapoor. With the inclusion of two more teams there’s a slight change in the format as well. There will be fifteen league matches, two semifinals and one final matches played. The other venues include Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kochi.
CCL features over 100 stars from India's diverse film industry, including the Star Power of Bollywood with Salman Khan, Telugu Star Venkatesh, Malayalam Superstar Mohanlal, Tamil Star Surya, Kannada Hero Sudeep and Bengali star Indreneil are going to mix glamour with cricketing instincts to fight for the Celebrity Cricket League Champions Trophy.
Suniel Shetty leads the Mumbai Heroes and Ritesh Deshmukh acts as the Vice Captain. The Mumbai Heroes’ team leads all the way when it comes to the glam brigade too; seen cheering the team will be the brand ambassador Sonakshi Sinha, Genelia Dsouza and Kangana Ranaut.
The Telugu Warriors is led by Venkatesh as the Captain and Vishnu Manchu as the Vice Captain and has Charmee and Richa as its brand ambassadors.
The Chennai Rhinos is led by captain Abbas and has stars like Surya and cheering them will be Sameera Reddy and Amla Paul.