First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
India are playing, and that's pretty much the only criterion for me to want to go watch a match live. Also, it was in my city, and on a Sunday. So I guess you could say it was pretty much meant to be. I'm the sort of person who's exasperatingly cautious, but as much as I didn't want to jinx our performance by assuming we would win, I couldn't help it. However, I do have immense belief in the fact that our team is known to make things difficult for themselves, and so I also had the tingling feeling that West Indies weren't going to hand us victory on a platter.
I wish I could say I'm a fan of the game, but when India are playing, I want India to win, every single time. And the fact that we're so unpredictable makes me love our team even more. The imperfections are what make Indian cricket so gloriously entertaining. I was quite resigned to the fact that if we lost, it would weaken my will to live… at least for a week.
World Cup prediction
Tough one. I want it to be India, real bad. But I think in a normal, miracle-less world we'll be semi-finalists. In a world with the right balance of realism and miracles, we would be in the final. In a sucky, unlucky world, Australia will dismiss us in the quarter-finals. If we actually win the Cup, it would be a fantastic miracle, yet not an undeserved one.
As you can see, for now I am unable to think beyond India's chances. As long as Australia don't win again I'll be okay. And by okay I mean I won't jump off the Chetpet Bridge into the foul Cooum River.
Yuvraj Singh played a patient, practical and painful innings. His fatigue-caused antics were weirdly endearing to me. Also, all the bowlers were amazing.
One thing I'd have changed
MS Dhoni's innings. I'm an intense Dhoni fan but I think he should have played a little differently. Of course, it's very easy for us to sit in the gallery and judge. I guess I'm just a little miffed we didn't get to see as many fancy shots as we would've liked.
My granddad's Nikon binoculars were a godsend. I saw a lot of things I wouldn't have otherwise, like Stumpy getting stuck at a gate. And other not-as-pleasant sights, like Ramnaresh Sarwan pulling his pants down to adjust something, and Yuvraj throwing up.
I just hope the man inside the Stumpy costume got paid enough.
Face-off I relished
Puppy versus Rest of the World. That puppy changed the game for us when it sprinted onto the field. Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli tried chasing it out but it ran in again and finally settled near the refreshments box. Seven wickets fell in 31 runs soon after.
Zaheer Khan's wicket of Devon Smith. My friend had just left, thinking we'd lose, and I was pretty bummed. That wicket and the dog brought the madness back to the crowd.
R Ashwin, pumped at playing his first World Cup match, and after taking first wicket, acknowledged his home crowd behind him. I want to know what the very noticeable, perfectly circular, pink patch, on the back of his pants, was.
Shot of the day
Yuvraj's six off Darren Sammy. Just when we all thought the mid-field vomiting had done him in…
The stadium was jam-packed. The air was electric, loud and full of stories, just the way I like it. The crowd was very sporting, and even played along with a seemingly dead emcee who asked us to yell "Yahoo!" Mexican waves spread like wildfire. There's nothing quite like watching the real thing, even with uncomfortable seats and in the heat of the Chennai sun.
The sound of 30,000 voices silenced by Sachin Tendulkar's wicket never fails to astound me. One man unites so many diverse people. Hype or not, it's truly something very special.
My friend and I walked into the stadium hoping Kieron Pollard or Yusuf Pathan wouldn't kill us with their sixes, but fortunately or not, we didn't have much of those to worry about.
The entertainment was superb. Of course the energy was already so high you didn't need a DJ to rouse the crowds, but ours did a great job. From the classic Tamil koothu music, to Hindi songs, and Rihanna's hip-hop, there was something to please them all. The crowd went crazy when "Who Let the Dogs Out?" was played right when people were starting to talk about the divine canine intervention. Then there was the customary "Singh is King" for Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj, but like I said, it doesn't take much to please an Indian crowd watching Indian cricket.
ODIs v Twenty20
Twenty20s are easier to watch but ODIs have more soul.
Marks out of 10
6 for quality of cricket, 0 for food (tell me, how do curd rice and idlis count as cricket-match food?) , and 10 for everything else. I guess that has a weighted mean of about 9.
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