Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, first qualifier, IPL, Pune

What's with all the support for Delhi?

The Pune spectators were delighted to see Shahrukh Khan, but they didn't get behind his team

Ankur Mehra

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Yusuf Pathan powers one away during a handy cameo, Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, 1st qualifier, IPL 2012, Pune, May 22, 2012
Yusuf Pathan: finally arrives at the party © AFP

Choice of game
There was no point in watching any of the Pune Warriors' matches in the newly built stadium since the results were obvious. So I decided to watch the top two IPL teams in action instead.

Team supported
I am supporting the Chennai Super Kings in the tournament, but for this game I backed the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Key performer
Yusuf Pathan took his team to a respectable score. His hard hitting was cheered by all.

One thing I'd have changed
Gautam Gambhir was playing really well when a direct hit found him just short of the crease. It would have been nice to see a batsman in such good form bat for some more time and help his team post a high total.

Face-off I relished
I was waiting for a Pathan brothers face-off. But it lasted just one ball, the final one of Irfan's spell.

Wow moment
After several attempts by the DJ and the hosts to get a Mexican wave going, the spectators finally gave them nearly four rounds of it.

Close encounter
Jacques Kallis fielded at long-on for a long time, and the crowd demanded at least one wave from him. One man shouted his name a number of times and tried catching his attention but failed. Then another joined in. Still no reaction. Even when ten to 15 people shouted his name, Kallis failed to turn around.

Shot of the day
Brendon McCullum's sweep for a six off Pawan Negi was the shot of the day. The ball went far into the stands.

Hardship factor
The new stadium is located far out of town so it's tough getting there. And once you're there, the parking area is a long way from the stadium and is disorganised. However, the seating was arranged well and was very comfortable.

The DJ played some peppy numbers during the strategic breaks and whenever a wicket fell. But the municipal corporation's 10pm deadline for the use of loudspeakers made the game dull without music towards the end.

Twenty20s v ODIs
T20s are better than ODIs but not better than Test matches. Tests still remain the most entertaining format.

Sunil Gavaskar's walk from the pitch to the commentators' box was cheered, but the crowd was really waiting for Shahrukh Khan. He came late, and the moment he was spotted on the big screen, the crowd went berserk. After the Knight Riders' victory, King Khan did a lap of honour, much to the fans' delight.

TV v stadium
The stadium experience was enjoyable till the music stopped. After that, the game didn't feel as exciting.

It was nice to watch an evenly contested game. However, I thought it was odd that nearly all the spectators had turned out in support of the Delhi Daredevils. I had assumed that the Shahrukh-owned Knight Riders would be popular with the Pune crowd.

Marks out of 10
7. Two points cut for the lack of music after 10pm and one for the inconvenient parking.

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Ankur Mehra is a qualified architect and works as a furniture designer. He is addicted to ESPNcricinfo and visits the site four to five times a day, even on non-match days. He is interested in many sports and wishes to work with some sports-based company in his field of expertise.

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Comments: 1 
Posted by bighit14 on (May 23, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

parking is really pathetic. And you can deduct one more point for lack of any public transport to the stadium or even nearby

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