When it comes to Indian sports, it’s always cricket. And, this one, ye dil maange more. From the longer cricket formats like Test Cricket to One Day International matches to Twenty20 format – all have been very popular. Like, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was innovative and proved to be exceedingly flourishing. Now, the Celebrity Cricket League (CCL), since its opening season, has had widespread acceptance and support of the film industry. A blend of cricket and entertainment pulled unbelievable volumes of crowds to stadiums. The first season had an awareness agenda about anti-piracy. The fifth edition of CCL began successfully on January 10 last. This season the CCL will support a social cause called ‘100 Hearts’ to help and fund surgeries of 100 children suffering from heart diseases.
The CCL is a cricket league played among eight teams comprising of actors from eight regional film industries of Indian cinema. It is a non-professional league in India. The trendy league consists of famous stars from different regions, namely, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Bangla, Kerala and Hindi films. The league is played on Twenty20 format similar to the IPL. The formation of the league took place in 2010 bringing many artists and actors from different regions together to play cricket. Majority of the team franchisee owners are from the film industry.
The four seasons of CCL
The CCL began in the year 2010 when Vishnu Vardhan Induri (industrialist from Hyderabad) sold franchise rights to four teams for the first season. The first season was played in 2011 among four teams – Chennai Rhinos, Mumbai Heroes, Telugu Warriors and Karnataka Bulldozers. Chennai Rhinos emerged victorious in the inaugural season of the CCL.
In the second season which was played in 2012, two more teams were added to the league – Kerala Strikers and Bengal Tigers. In this season also Chennai Rhinos beat Karnataka Bulldozers, taking away the trophy. The third season in 2013 again saw addition of two teams — Veer Marathi and Bhojpuri Dabbangs. This season saw more teams and more glamour with Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif and Prabhu Deva performing at the event. Bipasha Basu was named as the brand ambassador of the CCL along with Kajal Agarwal. The Karnataka Bulldozers beat Telugu Warriors to become champions of CCL 3. Season 4 saw Karnataka Bulldozers lift the winner’s trophy for the second time, beating Kerala Strikers.
Fifth CCL in progress
A total of eight teams are playing in the CCL 2015. Defending Champions Karnataka Bulldozers will look forward to another title to their name. All teams will be playing three matches each. It is mandatory to win at least two matches to reach the semi-final round. As the CCL showed non-professional cricketers playing good cricket on field, Mumbai Heroes had a great start by winning the match by six runs against Veer Marathi on January 10 in Mumbai. Defending champions Karnataka Bulldozers have been constantly showing a good game as they thrashed Bhojpuri Dabbangs in the second match played on January 10.
In the points table of Group A, Telugu Warriors are leading with six points and a run rate of 2.097 while Karnataka Bulldozers are on four points with a net run rate of 2.316. From the points table of Group B, Chennai Rhinos have six points on their side with a run rate of 3.000 and Mumbai Heroes are on four points but the run rate doesn’t look striking. There will be 15 matches played in total out of which 12 matches are pool matches and will lead to direct entry into the semi-final match.
CCL after-parties – Glam Nights
Glam Nights are special and exclusive after-parties organized for teams participating in the CCL. They are organized at fantastic venues with the most scrumptious food and a wide variety of beverages. This extravaganza includes the best of contemporary music and draws the creme de la creme of the society to these parties. Glam Night offers players, stars and individuals an amazing opportunity to unwind. The Glam Nights takes the bling quotient of CCL to the next level, with eclectic and dashing after-parties post every major CCL match. With loads of celebrities and players in attendance, Glam Nights are the ultimate place to be.
Is it Bhojpuri Dabbangs as dark horse this time!
Looking at the victories, defending champions Karnataka Bulldozers have been taking away the trophy since last two seasons. But Chennai Rhinos too have won the CCL twice. The current form of the Karnataka Bulldozers seems promising and will contend for their hat-trick this time. Bhojpuri Dabbangs who stood third at the points table in 2014 are being considered the dark horse. Manoj Tiwari’s Bhojpuri Dabbangs were added to the tournament in 2013 and showed a fine game in the two seasons that they played. They might perform way better this time. It is yet to be seen. Mumbai Heroes in itself is a magnetic team with famous celebrities and film stars. As far as popularity is concerned, it ranks the top but how far their ability on the field will take them is yet to be seen. The star-studded team made it to the fourth position in 2014 season. Veer Marathi with no win at all in the last season of CCL 4, are not showing much expectations. With an unsatisfactory performance from Riteish Deshmukh’s team in the last season, they will strive to put up a better show this time, anyway.
A social initiative – ‘100 Hearts’
The CCL 2015 will undertake a social initiative. The initiative is named as ‘100 Hearts’. The ‘100 Hearts’ project will support and provide finance to 100 children who are in need of help for surgery for heart diseases. The CCL 5 has a noble cause as its agenda and will surely prove to be a big hit among fans and sports fraternity. The presence of stars like Sohail Khan, Manoj Tiwari, Sachin Joshi, Huma Qureshi, Kajal Aggarwal and Suniel Shetty at the launch of ‘100 Hearts’ was a big boost to the event. Also, actor Varun Dhawan and Neha Dhupia added charm to the opening ceremony of CCL 5. Not only that, cine greats Anupam Kher, Gulshan Grover and Anil Kapoor were seen participating. Glamour blended with cricket for a noble cause is indeed a great idea.