Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2013, Bangalore

Dravid the visitor in Bangalore

The home boy lost but the home fans enjoyed themselves

Ayan Dasgupta

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Rahul Dravid walks back after being dismissed, Chennai Super Kings v Royal Challengers Bangalore, Champions League Twenty20, Durban, September 24, 2010
Remember when this man used to play in these colours? © Associated Press
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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.

Team supported
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.

Key performer
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.

Wow moment
A rasping cover drive off AB de Villiers' blade was caught low by Ajit Chandila at mid-off.

Close encounter
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.

Crowd meter
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.

Fancy-dress index
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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Ayan has followed the game avidly since he can remember (writing a piece on Kapil Dev for the school magazine in class IV), but this was only the second time he watched a match live at the stadium, the last being an India-West Indies game in Cuttack in 1994. His ideal weekend pastime is to play cricket with friends, although nothing beats the watch-from-the-couch routine.

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