Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Mumbai

Cheers, jeers, and expensive doughnuts

A crazy-loud crowd, a beautiful girl, and Tendulkar can make you forget the team you supported lost

Nitish Garg

Comments: 2 | Text size: A | A
Kieron Pollard runs out Rahul Dravid, Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2010, 1st semi-final, Mumbai, April 21, 2010
Kieron Pollard was everywhere during the semi-final © Indian Premier League
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The game
I was furious with myself for missing every match of the IPL. So while it was sad that the semi-finals were moved out of Bangalore for security reasons, it gave me an unforeseen opportunity that I was determined not to miss. My prediction was the game would go to a Super Over.

Team supported
At the start of the tournament I supported the Delhi Daredevils. Kolkata Knight Riders were my second choice and Bangalore third. Since all three lost, I will not reveal the team I will back for the final.

Key performer
Kieron Pollard. His contribution to the game included a typical nitro boost at the end of the batting innings, an accurate spell, with three crucial wickets, and a run-out.

One thing I'd have changed
I'd have loved to watch Kumble v Tendulkar. It didn't happen.

Face-off I relished
There were several short duels: Tendulkar v Steyn, Harbhajan v KP. But the one I liked the most was between Dravid and Zaheer, for it was evenly matched. Dravid got a few edges and also hit a beautiful clipped boundary.

Accessories
My Bangalore jersey was the only one within a 15-feet radius. The dirty looks and jeers I got made my day.

Wow moment
The DJ played a heartbeat track when the umpires conferred on a dismissal or while we waited for the third umpire's decision. It was a brilliant touch. I could feel the tension ripple through the stadium.

Player watch
The crowd had eyes only for Tendulkar. But once he was out, and later left because of injury, the chants changed to "Pollaaard Pollaaard".

Shot of the day
After hitting Harbhajan Singh for two sixes to midwicket Robin Uthappa went for a delicious reverse-sweep from one outside off stump.

Crowd meter
It was an absolutely mad crowd. The best I've seen in all my stadium visits. There were hardly any red jerseys to be seen (other than me) and every wave of the Bangalore flag was booed! The one blip was that there were no Mexican waves.

Hardship factor
Parking was smooth but getting inside was a task. Thousands (including me) had online tickets that needed to be redeemed. No one seemed to be doing that or directing the traffic. Food was easy to get but the prices were too high (Rs 50 for a doughnut!). And no drinks were available. There were many restrooms and all were clean, but considering I went the whole match without any fluid, who needed them?

Fancy-dress index
There was some fancy headgear. A fantastic zoozoo outfit made of balloons, and a number of furry, bushy colorful wigs.

Entertainment
Mostly Bollywood dance music. I never thought I would dance in front of a bay full of people, but I did. With the amount of noise generated by the DJ, the horns and the crowd, I can't imagine how the players go about their business without getting distracted.

Neighbour of the day
The lovely South Mumbai girl to my right. She had all the facts at her fingertips. A pity I forgot to ask her name.

Twenty20s or ODIs?
ODIs on TV and Twenty20s at stadiums. Game and player analysis cannot be done in a stadium.

TV v stadium
If you just look at the game, the stadium is way more fun. But the pre- and post-match hassles discourage more frequent visits.

Star-spotting
Deepika Padukone. If having her on your side cannot spur you on, nothing can!

Banner of the day
"IPL ticket: 1000. Pune-Bombay: 400. Kingfisher on the way: 200. Watching SRT: Priceless."

Marks out of 10
9. The quality of cricket wasn't outstanding by any means. But who cares? An absolutely brilliant and electric atmosphere, great company, and a fantastic stadium makes you ask for more.

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Nitish Garg, 25, is from Delhi and is trying to be half as good a banker as he is a bowler. He is a big Delhi Daredevils fan, owns three Wisden Almanacks, has taught cricket to the Swiss, loves Test cricket. His favourite cricketers are Paul Collingwood and Daniel Vettori and his favourite grounds are the Basin Reserve, and the WACA.

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Comments: 2 
Posted by sanzo5 on (April 22, 2010, 13:30 GMT)

nice one.... yup watching sachin is priceless.. he is india's proudest possession... knowing tendulkar the champ... he will play in the finals no matter what..... all the best sachin.....

Posted by   on (April 22, 2010, 10:56 GMT)

Come on you commentators, make overseas people happy and mention the attendance figures and the temperature at the game!!

We always wonder why they neglect that important fact

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