The kids were there as part of Reliance Foundation’s Education and Sports for All annual initiative.
Mumbai boys Rohit and Rahane lead their sides at Wankhede in what was 100th match for Rohit as MI skipper and 200th T20 match for Mumbai Indians over all.
After missing a game due to leg injury Rohit Sharma returned to centre of the pitch for the toss with fellow mumbaikar Ajinkya Rahane accompanying him. Rohit was representing Mumbai Indians who came into the game against Rajasthan Royals on a roll with three wins on the trot. It was special game for Rohit as he was leading Mumbai Indians for the 100th time (in IPL and now defunct Champions League) during which he has already lifted three IPL trophies with this team. It was also overall 200th Twenty20 game for the Mumbai based franchise.
However his comeback meant Siddhesh Lad had to sit out again after getting a long due break in last game in his fifth season.
Rahane on the other hand came to Wankhede finding some solace after having a disappointing IPL campaign so far. His team could won only one match against bottom placed Royal Challengers Bangalore before coming here. Both the players had a lengthy discussion at the toss.
Dressed in pink it was home coming for Rahane who has rose to the ranks while playing bulk of the cricket at this venue. However, there were few pink shirts in the crowd as special kids dressed in blues had thronged the stadium. These over 21000 underprivileged kids full of excitement filled most of the stadium.
The kids were here as part of Reliance Foundation’s Education and Sports for All annual initiative. Special AC buses had been arranged for these kids to bring them to Wankhede from various NGOs in the city. The kids were vocal chanting Rohit Rohit, singing to DJ and having a quality time despite heat. Rohit (47) and his opening partner Quinton de Kock ensured these kids had a gala time by slamming fours and sixes at will and giving Mumbai best start of the campaign with 96-run opening stand.
“Special match today for @mipaltan #ESADay Education and Sports for All is one of the best initiatives that I have ever been part of. Always a very special match for every Team member #OneFamily,” former Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan tweeted. Zaheer is now Director Cricket Operations with Mumbai Indians.
Besides Rohit and Rahane two other local boys Suryakumar Yadav of MI and Dhawal Kulkarni for RR were also in action. Kulkarni bowled second over of the match while Surya came to crease after exit of Rohit in the eleventh over.