First-person reports from the stands
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Choice of game
It is always a pleasure to watch batsmen go after bowlers for three hours. When you have hitters like Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in one team, and Yuvraj Singh in another, who needs another reason to book a ticket?
As a loyal Rahul Dravid supporter I have been supporting RCB since the beginning of the IPL. Even though Dravid changed his team, I couldn't stop supporting them since I am a fan of their dashing style of play. After the Gayle fireworks against Pune at the Chinnaswamy, the stage was set for one more fierce batting display against the poor bowling attack of hosts.
AB de Villiers was the show stopper with a magnificent, unbeaten 50 off 23 balls, that included all kinds of scoops and sweeps around the ground. His 26-run blitz in the last over from Ashok Dinda was especially lethal for the Warriors.
One thing I'd have changed about the match
The quality of sport played on the ground was awesome, but I would have loved to see a better DJ in the stands with a bit more loud music.
There were several innovative shots on display, but AB de Villiers' batting in that final over from Dinda took the cake. He played a fabulous reverse sweep, and followed it up with an equally daring lap shot - off a fast bowler, mind you.
Shot of the day
The Warriors went after Muttiah Muralitharan with intent. The shot hit by Robin Uthappa over deep square leg for a long six was the shot of the day for me. That over went for 21 runs, which brought the target of 188 runs within Pune's reach.
Even though the stands were jam-packed, the buzz made by the crowd was not up to the mark. No attempts were made to initiate a Mexican wave either, which was a letdown.
Reaching a stadium 25 km away from the city after finishing a day's work was a task in itself. Even though the match experience was top-notch, the post-match parking melee could have been easily avoided with better organization.
Twenty20 v ODIs v Test cricket
I would vote for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20s in that order. It is really hard to ignore T20s anymore, but for me Test cricket is the ultimate tool to separate the men from the boys.
Banner of the day
Not many banners were on display in the stands but the one that caught my eye had Virat Kohli's poster and the message, "Don't worry, we don't boo!"
TV v stadium
Watching a game on TV with a group of friends is always a pleasure, but watching it pan out live with everyone screaming, and your favorite players just a few meters away - I will take the stadium experience over TV anytime.
Marks out of 10
The overall quality of cricket with lots of innovations and power shots was of pretty high standards. Finally Pune showed some grit and the will to fight, which made this seeming mismatch a surprisingly well-contested tussle. I would give this game 8 points out of 10.
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