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First-person reports from the stands
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Choice of game
I wanted to see the Don Bradman of Twenty20 cricket, Chris Gayle. I had also never seen Sachin Tendulkar in a match at the stadium. Mumbai Indians had other star players in Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga in their team while the Royal Challengers Bangalore had AB De Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Virat Kohli. The chance to see all these players in action compelled me to go.
As a Mumbai supporter, I wanted my team to win a closely fought game in which Gayle would play a good knock.
Even though Dwayne Smith scored a half-century and took two wickets, it was Dhawal Kulkarni's three top-order wickets that clinched the win for Mumbai.
One thing I'd have changed
I would have reversed the lbw decision given to Tendulkar, because he was batting really well and had laid the foundation for a big score.
Face-off I relished
It was fun to watch Malinga bowl against Dilshan and Gayle. Mitchell Johnson bowled Gayle a few short ones and the batsman responded with a six.
Harbhajan Singh did the Gangnam Style dance once he got Gayle out caught by Ambati Rayudu at the boundary. The entire crowd got up and celebrated.
RP Singh, Jaidev Unadkat and Chris Gayle fielded near the boundary for the Royal Challengers and Kulkarni, Harbhajan and Tendulkar for Mumbai. The biggest cheers were reserved for Tendulkar, who dived to save a boundary from Arun Karthik off Harbhajan's bowling. Johnson's six off Ravi Rampaul came to our side of the boundary.
Shot of the day
In the first over of the match, Tendulkar hit Rampaul for a boundary that flew between keeper and first slip. We watched with bated breath till it crossed the rope.
The stadium was full. There were a few Royal Challengers supporters in the stands, but most of the spectators had come to cheer Mumbai. When Pollard walked in to bat, there was a huge cheer. Virat Kohli didn't receive any such welcome when he came in to bat, because of his having run out Rayudu during Mumbai's innings. In fact, during the presentation ceremony, Kohli was booed by the spectators.
Compared to my earlier experiences, this time round it was easy getting into the stadium since I had tickets for Garware Pavilion Stand, which is one of the best stands at the Wankhede. I didn't have to queue up to get inside the stadium nor push through a crowd while getting out. From our seats, we could get a 360-degree view of the stadium.
I saw a spectator sporting a M.A.R.D (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) moustache. He also wore a face mask of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi at the back of his head. Another spectator had a scary look with his hair raised and a scary face mask. Someone tried to look like Gayle by tying a black handkerchief over his hair.
Iron Man and Spiderman entertained the crowd before the match, dancing to Bollywood songs.
ODIs or Twenty20s
I prefer T20s currently since they are three-hour long entertainment packages that can be enjoyed on weekend evenings in a stadium along with a huge crowd. The IPL is just not a cricket tournament; it's a summer holidays entertainment package to look forward to every year.
Banner of the day
There was an "IPL Come to Goa" banner. On seeing it, my friend remarked that if the IPL had a team from Goa, it could be called "Panjim Panthers" and if it performed badly, it could be renamed "Go Goa Gone".
TV v Stadium
The experience of watching a match at the stadium is more enjoyable than on TV, because you not only get to see the match, but also enjoy the crowd, the excitement, the entertainment, the chants and the slogans. Time flies when you're in the stadium.
Marks out of ten
6, because it was a one-sided match. There was virtually no fight from the Royal Challengers.
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