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First-person reports from the stands
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Choice of game
I had been planning to watch an IPL match with a couple of my mates, and we chose a weekend one so none of us would have to bunk work. It was an enticing prospect to watch Rahul Dravid play against his former club.
Lost in a sea of red at the Chinnaswamy, I was rooting for the home team and looking forward to seeing it extend its unbeaten home record this season.
You expect the bowlers to take centrestage in a low-scoring game, and the likes of RP Singh and Vinay Kumar had more than a decent outing in the middle, hopefully exorcising the ghosts of their recent end-over misadventures (which had cost their team a couple of games).
Chris Gayle played a winning hand with the bat, even obliging the crowd with a six to finish off the contest.
One thing I'd have changed about the match
Rajasthan Royals' inadequate total followed by a timid bowling display meant this match was going to play out a predictable end.
Face-off I relished
Gayle v Shaun Tait promised to be a fierce battle, but a terribly off-colour Tait conspired to make this a no-contest with a wayward bowling performance. Christopher Henry Gayle was also at his sedate best and focused on keeping the chase under control.
A rasping cover drive off AB de Villiers' blade was caught low by Ajit Chandila at mid-off.
Zaheer Khan warmed up near the boundary before the match. Put through the paces by the physio, Zak was cautious to not push himself too hard but didn't seem too far from match fitness.
Shot of the day
Ajinkya Rahane's punch over mid-off in the early part of the Royals' innings went for a six and drew a round of applause from the sporting crowd. It was a timely strike too, for the Royals had trudged along to only 14 in the first four overs.
When Dravid walked into bat at the fall of Shane Watson's wicket, the crowd went wild, welcoming one of its own. A gentleman wearing a Royals' t-shirt and quite clearly a Dravid fan was intent on letting know his affiliation in a none too subtle a manner, acting delirious every time Dravid put bat to ball.
The crowd was in full attendance and gamely performed the Mexican wave a few times - with the red flags et al - when egged on by the emcee. They also grooved every time a Kannada song was belted out over the PA.
Seated right next me were five to six men wearing the typical Indian politician garb - white kurta and pyjama and Gandhi caps. While nowhere near fancy, they stood out in a crowd where just about every second spectator was wearing the RCB jersey or at least some shade of red.
TV v stadium
This was only the second time I was watching a game live, so it was definitely a memorable experience. Everyone in the stadium seemed to be in great spirits and enjoying themselves. The cricket was good too, and with the home team making short work of the chase, there was much to cheer for the local supporters.
Marks out of 10
9. One mark deducted for the slightly underwhelming finish. But the stadium experience was good, and it was a Saturday well spent.
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