Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v West Indies, ICC Champions Trophy, Johannesburg

No crowd, no Tendulkar, and Dhoni the bowler

A journalist finds every one in the press box glued to another game

David Katz

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Keen on writing on the Champions League for Cricinfo? Find out more here.

One for the album: MS Dhoni runs in hard, India v West Indies, Champions Trophy, Group A, Johannesburg, September 30, 2009
Dhoni lucked out with his first ODI wicket, but the fans were not quite so fortunate when it came to being entertained © Getty Images
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Choice of game
I have been fortunate to watch all the group games at the Wanderers, but I was particularly looking forward to the last. It was likely to be my final chance to see the great Sachin Tendulkar play in South Africa. Unfortunately the little master was out with food poisoning, but even without him India were going to be too much for West Indies.

Team supported
The patriot in me was fully behind the Proteas to win the whole thing. However, with their disappointing showing, New Zealand are the side I will be backing in the semis.

Key performer
The Indian bowling line-up. Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra got India off to a great start, taking 3 for 22 and 3 for 31 respectively. They were amply supported by Harbhajan Singh, who took 2 for 14 in 8, and multi-talented captain MS Dhoni, who got a first ODI wicket.

One thing I would have changed about the match
It's the same thing I would have changed at all the games: the crowd. Those who were here were great. However, in general, crowd attendance was poor throughout. It unfortunately seems to be a tell-tale sign of the waning public interest in the 50-over format of the game.

Accessories
Having a computer and being able to access cricket info while at the game is a valuable asset as a journalist. It allows you to keep checking stats of players and teams, which adds to the viewing pleasure and interest.

Face-off I relished
Depending on which wicket was used, I was looking forward to seeing how much pressure the West Indian bowlers could apply on an impressive Indian batting line-up. Gavin Tonge, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy and David Bernard have been devastating at times in this tournament.

Wow moment
When it looked like Pakistan would possibly beat Australia, giving India a chance at staying in the tournament. Up in the press box, commentators and journalists were glued to the TV action from SuperSport Park, waiting to see the outcome of the match.

Shot of the day
Nikita Miller's six off Amit Mishra, on the last ball of the 32nd over. I saw him pummel Pakistan as well. You just don't expect that sort of power from a man of his size.

Crowd meter
As stated earlier, the crowd was disappointing. But there was enough support for India to bring the stadium to life. The supporters' consistent singing and cheering must have spurred the Indian side on.

Entertainment
The DJ played the usual mix of current music, with some reggae songs thrown in for West Indies. In terms of other entertainment there were African dancers and the Standard Bank Blue Bugler, who kept trumpeting his horn. The innings break saw competition giveaways, with some chap trying to eat the cameraman's lens the whole time.

ODI v Twenty20
I enjoyed the Champions Trophy more than the recent IPL in South Africa. The IPL was too loud and too over the top. The Champions Trophy was just about good cricket. Test cricket is still, however, the one and only true form of the game. Bring on England in December.

Banner of the day
One set of supporters spelt out "GO" on the grass, with the Indian flag inside the "O".

Overall
A packed Bullring creates one of the most incredible atmospheres in world cricket. Unfortunately that was not the case in this match, or any other at the Wanderers during the tournament. The match itself was pretty much as expected, a one-sided affair.

Marks out of 10 5. (South Africa games, and the India-Pakistan match at SuperSport Park, have provided the only real fan experiences of the tournament thus far. I have unfortunately missed all four).

Keen on writing on the Champions League for Cricinfo? Find out more here.

David Katz, 27, was born in Johannesburg, but grew up in surfing mecca Jeffrey's Bay in the Eastern Cape. Private schooling instilled a love of sport from a young age, and balls, not boards were his equipment of preference. Back in Johannesburg, and working as a journalist for broadcaster SuperSport, David still loves the atmosphere of live cricket.

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