September 19, 2007

S Rajesh and Andrew McGlashan at the 2007 ICC World Twenty20

Bollywood, bhangra and a glut of sixes

S Rajesh
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It wasn't a packed house at Kingsmead by any stretch of imagination - there were plenty of empty seats around the stadium - but those who were around were so vocal that the numbers didn't matter. And there was no question which team had the maximum support: it was an Indian night in every sense. Their supporters easily outnumbered England's fans, India's performance in the field outdid England's, and the dance numbers blaring from the loudspeakers were more Bollywood and bhangra than rock and hip-hop.

Funky B, the DJ at the ground, clearly knew her audience and even on a day of such exciting cricket, some of the loudest cheers were reserved for the music. Sometimes the cheers were so loud, and the groans when the music had to be stopped for play to resume so evident, that it seemed the crowd would rather be jiving to Bally Sagoo and co than watching the cricket.

That, of course, was before Yuvraj Singh came to the crease. The decibel levels increased after each six, and when the final one went into orbit, the crowd went crazy well before the ball cleared the ropes. Quite appropriately, the players went into the innings break with Chak De screaming over the speakers. Expect more of the same if the Indians get going in their final Super Eights game against South Africa on Thursday.

***

In the midst of such a deluge of fours and sixes, spare a thought for the cheerleaders, who were yo-yoing up and down from the stage almost every other ball through the Indian innings. In all, the Indians pelted 26 boundaries - 15 fours and 11 sixes - in 20 overs. And in the penultimate over it got especially demanding, as the dancers had to hop up and down after every ball - with the mood Yuvraj was in, they might as well have stayed up for the entire over. Not surprisingly, some of those cheerleaders were visibly short of breath during the innings break. It was a well-earned break, if there ever was one.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S Rajesh
Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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