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'A challenge turned into opportunity'

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Almost all the players participating in the 59-match carnival, that culminates with the final in Johannesburg on May 24, were present, as were Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty, part-owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals respectively.

Having arranged the logistics in just three weeks' time after the event was shifted out of India, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said he was happy to have overcome the challenge.

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    "It was a huge challenge but we turned it into an opportunity. The South African government and the cricket board went out of their way to help us and made it a national event," a beaming Modi said.

    Also see: Tendulkar going to Tussauds

    Modi foresees the eight franchisees of the Twenty20 event soon becoming as popular as iconic soccer clubs Manchester United and Chelsea.

    "We hope IPL teams become worldwide teams like Manchester United and Chelsea. That's the objective and we are able to turn that into a reality now," he was quoted as saying by The Times.

    Image: IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and former India all-rounder-turned cricket commentator Ravi Shastri at the parade.

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