Bombs shift IPL semis to Mumbai

Discovery of two more devices sees Bangalore lose hosting of both cricket semi-finals.

    Police search a park next to the stadium [AFP]

    The semi-finals of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament were shifted to Mumbai from Bangalore after more explosive devices were discovered following Saturday's bombing.

    At least eight people were injured in two blasts before Bangalore Royal Challengers took on Mumbai Indians in a Twenty20 match featuring stars from across the cricketing world.

    Al Jazeera's Rahul Pathak, reporting from New Delhi, said high-profile players like England's Kevin Pietersen were assessing their participation in the IPL tournament after two more bombs were found on Sunday.

    "It was the discovery of two further devices that prompted the move," he said.

    "It's a huge embarrassment for the Bangalore police who conducted a huge sweep on Saturday but missed these two.

    "The IPL have said enough is enough and they've moved both semi-finals.

    "The Royal Challengers' Kevin Pietersen is awaiting a security report from the England & Wales Cricket Board, while Cricket Australia says it is too soon to talk about moving players out but that they are monitoring the situation."

    Up to 80 foreign players are contracted to the eight IPL teams.

    Security stepped up

    Organisers have vowed that security will be stepped up for the remainder of the tournament, which is due to culminate in Mumbai on April 25.

    The semi-finals are set for Wednesday and Thursday.

    "The IPL has been a huge success in terms of crowds. Yesterday's incident didn't seem to affect the popularity of this event"

    Rahul Pathak, Al Jazeera correspondent

    "We are talking to police and government officials about security arrangements," IPL commissioner Lalit Modi told the Associated Press news agency.

    "We are feeling quite confident."

    Two crudely made bombs went off outside Chinnaswamy Stadium an hour before Saturday's match, which Mumbai won in front of a packed house.

    Al Jazeera's correspondent said fans in Bangalore would probably not be able to afford to travel for the semi-finals in Mumbai.

    "I think the IPL are going to allow the fans to have their tickets refunded, but the majority of the Bangalore fans won't be able to travel," he said.

    "It does mean fans in Mumbai will get to watch yet more cricket.

    "The IPL has been a huge success in terms of crowds. Yesterday's incident didn't seem to affect the popularity of this event."

    Modi said that Sunday's discoveries were "minor" but that there was little option but to change the venue.

    Hand forced

    "The incidents were assessed by local police and the IPL's security agency as being of a minor nature but they have forced our hand," Modi said in a statement.

    "This decision is naturally disappointing for the people of Bangalore but has been taken with the tournament's best interests, and the interests of its many varied stakeholders, in mind."

    Bangalore is set to host some of next year's cricket World Cup matches.

    On Sunday two sets of IPL regular season matches are scheduled – one in New Delhi between the Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers and another in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala between Kings XI Punjab and the Chennai Super Kings.

    The second edition of the IPL was moved abroad to South Africa last year because of concern that the security forces would be too stretched by a clash of dates between the federal elections and the lucrative Twenty20 cricket tournament.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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