First-person reports from the stands
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Choice of game
CSK v RCB at the Chinnaswamy Stadium - The IPL's Southern Derby has seen some of the most fiercely fought contests in the league's history with a majority of the matches going down to the wire. Add to that, the chance to watch a must-win game for the home team along with 35,000 other fans - I just had to be there.
RCB. Though they've been erratic this season (and that would be to put it mildly), the entertainment quotient is always pretty high when they take the field. An RCB-CSK-MI-RR combination was what I was hoping for in the knock outs, and there I was at the stadium, rooting fervently for the home team.
Once the match was curtailed to eight-overs-a-side, most of us in the stands guessed that Virat Kohli would open along with Chris Gayle. And he made all the difference. His assault, right from the first over, was instrumental in RCB's big score.
One thing I'd have changed about the match
It was cloudy when we reached the stadium at around 6 pm it was a bit cloudy but there was no real sign of a downpour. Suddenly it started pouring like crazy for around 30 minutes, then there was a brief pause, and then another downpour for another 30 minutes, and then a pause - this went on in a loop. Fortunately the game did begin eventually, but the weather gods could have been kinder.
Face-off I relished
RCB were good in all departments and did not really allow CSK to get into the match at any point of time. However there were brief passages of play that were pretty interesting. R Ashwin and Chris Morris both had Gayle in a spot of bother and there were stunned gasps from the crowd every time the latter played and missed. The final over from Dwayne Bravo too was a humdinger. The crowd got restless after a couple of dot balls, before Kohli figured out a way to dispatch Bravo into the stands.
During the lap of honour to thank the fans for their support, Gayle obliged to the requests and performed the Gangnam style. The wow moment came a bit later when the normally less expressive AB de Villiers joined in the act.
Shot of the day
MS Dhoni's six off RP Singh, that sent the ball out of the stadium, was an absolute ripper. The bat-speed was lightning fast and before we could react, the ball had disappeared.
There were people from all walks of life, and it was a very appreciative crowd - as much as people wanted RCB to win, they were very liberal in their appreciation for the away team. The Mexican wave was well coordinated, with most of the crowd joining the fun and raising their hands whenever needed. There were five rounds in all, each one a step above the previous in terms of co-ordination.
Fancy dress index
Given the heavy rains, most of the fancy stuff was not out in the open. I could see a couple of curly wigs in the stands, but thanks to the dampness, they ended up looking more like candy-floss. There were also shark caps, and coloured Mohican headgear.
The DJ tried to get the crowd to sing a few notes, something similar to what Freddie Mercury did at the Wembley during the Live Aid. He did manage to do a fairly decent job, and a few in the crowd went on to try the more complicated notes too that came later.
Marks out of 10
Nine - The entry into the stadium was hassle-free (at least for me, I had no vehicle to park and took a walk from all the way home), the crowd was fantastic, the stadium with all its displays looked majestic, and in spite of the rains, the match and the experience was really memorable.
Apart from the crowd, a special mention also has to be made about the ground staff - after spending more than 1000 bucks on a ticket for a Saturday evening match, the last thing you'd want is to have it cancelled because of the rains. Three cheers to the Chinnaswamy personnel for ensuring that the match went ahead in spite of the rains. This fact was appreciated by everyone present at the stadium.
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