WC declared open with stupendous ceremony

Zeecric Bureau

Dhaka: International star Bryan Adams gave a rocking performance to set the tone for the Cricket World Cup 2011 that was ushered in with a grand opening ceremony.

The official theme song sung by the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy followed the return of the game`s showpiece event to the sub-continent after long hiatus of 15 years.

The evening saw the top politicians and officials rubbing shoulders to witness the biggest sporting spectacle for the cricket crazy sub-continent. Things started off with the Bangladeshi national anthem filling the air with the ‘Chayanot Choir’ doing the honours of performing it.

Bryan Adams` mesmerising act was the highlight of the show that also had Indian musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy belting out the World Cup theme song `De Ghuma Ke` composed by the trio.

Indian playback singer Sonu Nigam and top Bangladeshi vocalists -- Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin and Mumtaz – also crooned in front of a capacity crowd which was treated to a musical extravaganza in three languages -- English, Hindi and Bangla.

Singer Ebrar Tipu and others set the tone for the evening as he arrived in a bedecked car to sing the welcome song, "O Prithibi, Ebar Eshey Banglake Nao Chiney?" (Hey world, come and know Bangladesh).

All the 14 captains came into the arena on decorated rickshaws with Australian captain Ricky Ponting coming in first followed by the other captains.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni drew a loud applause while the biggest cheer was reserved for host captain Shakib Al Hasan as he waved to the crowd.

After all the captains assembled on the specially erected dias, Indian singer Sonu Nigam then rendered the "Spirit of Cricket` song.

After the speeches by top officials, including ICC President Sharad Pawar who spoke a few lines in Bangla, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the event open, setting the stage for Adams and other celebrated artistes to enthrall the audience.

A breath-taking aerial cricket match, played horizontally on a building, kept the spectators spellbound.

Nearly 2,100 school and college students and 350 members of the Armed Forces presented a cultural programme depicting the glorious Language Movement, War of Liberation, Bangladesh’s founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman`s historic March 7 speech, Bangla New Year and traditional dance of the indigenous communities.

Adams then took centrestage with some of his all-time hits like "Let’s make it a night to remember", "Summer of `69", and "18 till I die" among others.

Barely 10 years after being given the Test status, it was a giant leap for Bangladesh as a nation as the minnows, known to pull off stunning wins in big events, hosted perhaps the biggest sporting show so far in their history.

Two days later, Bangladesh and co-hosts India will clash in the inaugural game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to herald the beginning of 43 days of action spread across 13 venues in three countries.

The other host country, Sri Lanka start off their campaign against lowly Canada in a Group A encounter in Colombo on Sunday.

The sub-continent had its first date with the World Cup when India and Pakistan hosted it in 1987 before Sri Lanka joined them in 1996.

Sub-continent, for all practical purposes, is the nerve centre of the game now, though 1992 champions Pakistan could not be one of the co-hosts due to the terror attacks that targetted touring Sri Lankan cricketers in 2009.

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