Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2013, Kolkata

The trigonometric appeal of Eden Gardens

You have to be a maths whiz to get to your seat in Kolkata, but once you do, it's pretty magical

Riyan Vatcha

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Sachin Tendulkar was bamboozled by an offbreak from Sunil Narine, Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL, Mumbai, May 16, 2012
Deja vu - Sunil Narine hit Sachin Tendulkar's stumps for the second year running © AFP

Choice of game
As a Kolkata Knight Riders fan, I try to attend as many home games as possible, and the one against Mumbai Indians was possibly the biggest match of the season. An added attraction was that the match was on the same day as Sachin Tendulkar's birthday.

Team supported
I support Knight Riders, but being a Tendulkar fan, I wanted him to score and Knight Riders to win.

Getting in
Eden Gardens was the fullest I have ever seen it. There was not a single empty seat seen anywhere. But the seat numbering clearly follows some complex mix of trigonometry and calculus, which makes finding your seat very difficult.

Stadium atmosphere
But nonetheless Eden Gardens reaffirmed my faith in it as one of the best stadiums in the world. The atmosphere was electric, with the crowd fully behind both teams and applauding good cricket in general.

One thing you'd have changed about the match
The late start due to the rain was frustrating. I'd also have loved to watch a Super Over.

Face-off I relished
I was interested to see how Tendulkar would play against Sunil Narine. He got bowled by the third ball he faced off the bowler.

Wow moment
It was really surprising to see Narine celebrating so animatedly after taking Rohit Sharma's wicket. For a person who is usually so nonchalant about wickets, this celebration was a welcome change.

The wait
For Tendulkar's fans, the first few overs were nerve-wracking. He had a close run-out chance at the end of the first over, then when he finally got on strike there was a huge lbw appeal. You could hear the tension release across the stadium when he got off the mark.

Close encounter
You could tell when Tendulkar was fielding at the boundary, because the block near him would go berserk. He fielded in front of us for about four overs, and it was nice to see him wave at the crowd every time he'd walk back to the boundary. The crowd just loves fielders who wave back.

Shot of the day
The standout shots were the reverse sweeps Eoin Morgan played for fours in the 13th and 14th over. They looked so effortless and simple, and just drifted over the infield.

Crowd meter
This was the best Eden Gardens crowd I have ever seen. The spectators were completely involved the game, chanting "KKR KKR" and "Sachin, Sachin", and of course, there were some lovely Mexican waves. The crowd seemed to actually support both teams going by the deafening roar for either a six or a wicket.

Hardship factor
As usual, Eden Gardens will never be perfect. The toilets were filthy, the food counters were insufficient and overpriced, and we entered the stadium like a mob. Add the evening shower that made the outsides of the stadium muddy, and you've got a very messy journey to the stadium.

Fancy dress index
I didn't expect to see Tendullar's biggest fan - the one with his body painted in tri-colour - at the game, but apparently he attends IPL matches too.

The music and the DJ were very enjoyable, but they had to turn off the music after 10pm, after which the stadium had to make do generating its own noise and organising its own chants and waves. It worked out pretty well.

Twenty20 v ODIs
I enjoy both, so I'd rather not judge, instead taking the best of both worlds.

TV v stadium
Again, these are completely different. On TV, you watch in the comfort of your home, while the stadium's atmosphere is unparalleled.

Mixed feelings
One of the huge improvements from previous seasons of the IPL is that now we can actually hear what's happening in the centre during the toss or presentation. Unfortunately, the police did not allow us to stay back for the presentation ceremony, hurriedly ushering us out of the stadium.

It was an exciting game, with both teams having their chances and periods of domination and that it went down to the second-last ball was exciting for fans of both teams.

Marks out of 10
8, for an enjoyable game that had a brilliant atmosphere.

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Riyan Vatcha is a class XII student who watches cricket when not involved in one of the trillion other activities in his life. His favourite cricketers are Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar. He also enjoys watching football and supports Arsenal. He tweets @riyanvatcha

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