For the seventh straight day, India registered over two lakh new cases of COVID-19.
In the past 24-hours, 2,023 people lost their lives to the dreaded virus.
The Prime Minister addressed the nation and several states announced drastic countermeasures.
Sporting events in the country are bearing the brunt of this brutal second wave.
The Indian Open Super 500, originally scheduled to be held between May 11 and 16 at Delhi, has now been cancelled.
Swimming pools, gymnasiums, shopping malls and multiplexes across the country are at the mercy of the chop and change government orders.
As the general public stays indoors and with entertainment options restricted to the fare dished out by OTT platforms, cricket - the country's favourite pastime - is fast becoming an escape plan for people thanks to the Indian Premier League.
Reality TV at its best
"It a great respite for people who are staying home under lockdown. It surely reduces their anxiety levels," says Tanuja, a Mumbai based advertising professional, who incidentally is not an avid cricket fan.
Although for a fleeting moment, the thrills of the game appear to undoubtedly help people forget the miseries that unfold around them.
"The last 10-mins of the game, where every ball is a thriller, comes loaded with mystery and helps us forget our hardships momentarily," she adds.
For others though, the IPL broadcast in the evenings fit perfectly into their post-work event schedule and helps them unwind.
"I currently work from home and the IPL start at 7.30 pm. By then I am done with work and I can sit back and relax and watch the matches in the evening," says Ajith, a Bangalore based software engineer.
Over the past few years, reality television shows like Big Boss has captured the attention of viewers.
For this segment of content consumers, the IPL is a huge fillip.
"IPL is sports reality TV at its best. The ups and downs are exciting to watch as you cheer for your team," says Madhuri, a grooming professional and De Villiers fan.
For the loyal fan, however, the IPL is quite simply an annual summer ritual of sorts.
Kunal, a chartered accountant from Pune, says the IPL and Mumbai Indians are something that he just cannot do without.
"I am a big cricket fan and have been following the IPL since the first season. So a summer without the IPL, Mumbai Indians and fantasy cricket feels incomplete."
Sceptics do a U-turn
The IPL auctions were held early this year and there was never any doubt that the BCCI was going to do everything possible to keep the tournament in India.
Also, the upcoming vaccination programs handed a boost to the staging of the tournament and even entertained thoughts of crowds in stadiums.
However, with cases spiralling out of control, the plan to hold matches behind closed doors was a sensible option.
That said, there were several that called for the cancellation of the tournament itself.
For them, the very thought of the BCCI hosting the IPL went against the state of emergency that prevails in the country.
"With the cases increasing, I was initially angry that they decided to hold the IPL," said Sharadh, an HR professional.
He cited the complex inter-city logistical operations of the IPL bandwagon onas being detrimental to the government's efforts to curb the virus.
But as information about the much talked about bio-bubbled surfaced, he now appears convinced.
"They appear to have measures in place with their secure bio-bubble. As long as they are not interfering with the prevention measures, I think it's okay," he added.
Entertainment aside, fans also realise that the IPL is in effect a business proposition and along the way, helps other industries as well.
Sunak, a Mumbai based Brand Manager says that the IPL taking place is a big boost to the struggling hospitality industry.
"Also, brands have invested heavily in the IPL and BCCI fulfilling contract commitments ensures that the business ecosystem continues to function despite the pandemic in the country," he added.
In a country that is reeling under an unrelenting onslaught of the pandemic, the IPL now plays the dual role of entertainer and the rainmaker.
If people stayed home and watched the Ramayan during the 2020 lockdown, they are now counting on the IPL to take them through this second wave.
(Names changed on request)