Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Stars, Big Bash League, Sydney

The stars shine brightly

The most hyped match of the BBL lived up to its expectations, but the entertainment didn't

Patrick Kennedy

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Shane Warne in action for the Melbourne Stars, Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Stars, BBL 2011-12, Sydney, December 27, 2011
Shane Warne the crowd-puller © Getty Images
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Choice of game
This game was irresistible due to the hype surrounding the new Big Bash competition and the ease with which I was able to attend. There was also some big drawcards like Stuart MacGill, Shane Warne, Dave Hussey, Brett Lee, Dwayne Bravo, Cameron White and Ben Rohrer. Before the game I tipped the Sixers to win, despite their previous result, due to their performance in the first game and because of their home ground advantage.

Team supported
I am supporting the Sydney Sixers in the competition because of the SCG and because a number of my favourite players are in the side.

Key performer
Bravo set the tone for the Sixers' innings and top-scored in the match with an entertaining 51 off 39 balls, which included three sixes. His leap to save a ball from travelling over the boundary was also a huge moment in the game.

One thing I'd have changed
I would have included better entertainment before the match as there was barely any, which led to a large period of boredom and impatience. Asking the cheerleaders their names and interviewing a dog were simply not enough to build excitement and anticipation before the game.

Face-off I relished
Most of the hype surrounding the match concerned the rivalry between Warne and MacGill, and naturally this appealed to me too. Neither bowler appeared to have the same skill nor threat he did in his glory days, or even in the past few matches, but each had a number of deliveries that troubled the batsmen. Warne was probably the better bowler on the night due his better economy rate and he seemed to trouble the batsmen, in particular Bravo, more often. The crowd got right behind Warne and MacGill, with the largest cheers of the night reserved for when they came onto bowl and when Warne touched the ball for the first time.

Wow moment
Probably the most important and amazing moment of the game came when Bravo made an incredibly acrobatic leap to catch a ball over the boundary before throwing it back in to save a six and turn it to two. Had it gone the other way the result of the match would have been different. He didn't receive just one cheer from the crowd when this occurred but two; the second when it was replayed on the screens at the ground.

Close encounter
One of the closest calls of the night came off the field when a beach ball made its way past the fence. A large amount of booing emanated from the crowd as a security guard strode over to collect the ball. However, seconds later, this was replaced by huge cheers as a boy near the fence grabbed the ball before the security guard could get at it and threw it back into the crowd much to their delight.

Shot of the day
The most memorable shot for me was Dominic Thornely's pull that sailed over mid-on for six. He seemed to put so little effort into the shot but there was enough power for it to travel a number of rows into the Noble Stand. The other amazing shot was by Rohrer, whose direct hit ran out Dave Hussey and ended any hope of a successful chase for the Stars.

Crowd meter
The crowd was much larger than most people anticipated - 27,950 people turned up. Most stands were more than half full. The Members' Stand was especially full, with many people standing in the bar inside the stand to simply watch the game, such was the demand for seats. A Mexican Wave travelled around the ground at least five times, and it even included the members. Many attendees appreciated the music at the ground. The Addams' Family theme song and "We Will Rock You" got participation from large sections of the crowd. Most fans got behind the Sixers, however, it is obvious the teams are yet to fully capture the support of many people, considering the crowd was not as partisan as it is in many other sporting events within Australia.

Fancy-dress index
There were a few people who came in fancy dress, including two in bear costumes and a group of men dressed in female nurse and police uniforms. The most notable, however, was the group of women who came as "Brett Lee's Angels" and won the fancy-dress competition that was being run by the Sixers. As such they were given special beanbags between the fence and the boundary rope from where to watch the game.

The songs played are very popular and as such were able to build the atmosphere of the crowd, particularly with the more youthful audience to whom they were trying to appeal.

The pre-match entertainment was dull as mentioned earlier, however, the mid-innings entertainment featured a catching competition for 12 people, and some of the dropped catches seemed to bring the crowd to life with a large amount of laughter. The flamethrowers that greeted the Sixers' players as they entered the field for both innings were visually appealing and added to the party atmosphere of the game. However, they were repetitive in their display and are not as attractive as the fireworks seen at the previous Sixers' home game.

The quality of cricket played on the day was very high, with enough sixes to entertain the crowd and some good bowling from both fast and spin bowlers. The fielding of both sides were also of very high standards and both teams were so even the result was not determined until the very last ball, at which point the crowd erupted. The atmosphere was also very good, owing to a large and often vocal crowd.

Marks out of 10
8, because the cricket was of a very high quality and the atmosphere was great. However, the entertainment left something to be desired.

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Patrick Kennedy was an aspiring cricketer when he helped his team win their Under-12-B competition. Since then his career as a player has been much less inspiring and he has taken up a greater role as a spectator of the game. To date his greatest achievement is watching two whole sessions of play without missing a ball.

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Comments: 1 
Posted by team_chandigarh on (December 28, 2011, 12:20 GMT)

Mate the attendance was 27,590 and not 27,950 !! And the most increible shot was definitely Ben Rohrer playing the scoop over fine leg from atleast 3 stumps outside the off stump!!

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