FAN FOLLOWING

First-person reports from the stands

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2013, Bangalore

April 5, 2013

Last-ball six on demand

Gaurav Mathur


Chris Gayle smashed six sixes in his half-century, Pune Warriors v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Pune, May 11, 2012
You asked for a last-ball six? Here you go © AFP
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Choice of game
Since this was the first time I was watching an IPL game live, I really wanted to see Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Muttiah Muralitharan play. I scrimmaged for tickets and got them for this game. I had never been to the Chinnaswamy Stadium before, so this turned out to be a multitude of firsts.

Team supported
When in Rome do as the Romans do. I was supporting Bangalore all the way. I even bought their official merchandise from one of the stalls in the stadium. I am always partial when it comes to Tendulkar, but my heart bled red and not blue on this occasion.

Getting in
The arrangements were very systematic and the experience was quite hassle-free. The authorities had planned well and getting in was a breeze. I was seated in one of the best stands in the ground since I could see the ball move in every direction.

Stadium atmosphere
Surreal, but real. The noise blew you off your feet and the music was deafening. I suddenly understood what "cricketainment" meant. This was one big party and everyone was invited. The DJ played some great music and we were dancing in our seats, and at times out of them. The entire stadium was bathed in red, with only a sliver of blue at one end.

Crowd meter
Bangalore lived up to its name. The first round of the Mexican wave went around the stadium five times, and there were few more in the second innings. The crowd cheered for Bangalore, but opened their hearts for Sachin. Whichever part of the ground he went to, the crowd gave him a rousing ovation. They loved Gayle and chanted for a last-ball six. He gave them what they asked for.

Star quotient
We were able to see the Bollywood actor Konkona Sen-Sharma right next to our stand, interacting with the emcee. She looked pretty in a sari and laughed when she heard cries of "Will you marry me?" from the crowd.

The face-off I relished
Tendulkar v Muttiah Muralitharan. Tendulkar looked in control, hoicking Murali straight over his head and working him with ease. Ponting was at the other end as well, and for an instance it looked like it was too much for Murali to handle.

Stand-outs in the crowd
We missed Lasith Malinga on the field, but not off it. There was a man in our stand who did a perfect Malinga impression, right down to the last golden curl. The original would have been impressed.

Key performer
Chris "Boom Boom" Gayle. He single-handedly took on Mumbai and dragged his side to a defensible total. He didn't take the field later due to an injury, and we missed his now customary Gangnam-style dance moves. Here's hoping he will be back on his feet soon.

Shot of the day
Gayle's last-ball six. The man was unable to walk and was on his knees for a good couple of minutes before walking back. He was given a well-deserved standing ovation.

TV versus stadium
Definitely the stadium. I could not have asked for a better experience. The crowd was well-behaved and everyone had a good time. The music and dancing in the aisles was excellent and you could see everyone let their hair down and enjoy. The crowd enjoyed the game and I could see a lot of smiles on the way out.

Marks out of 10
Definitely a 10. I got what I wanted and then some. As I write this, I have a sore throat from all the screaming and I'm pretty sure I will remember this for a very long time. The face-offs, the crowd, the entertainment, the music, the cheerleaders, and the last-ball finish meant I got the whole package in a short span of time. "Cricketainment" indeed.

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Gaurav catches as many cricket games as possible while working across time-zones as an investment banker. He idolizes Wasim Akram and lives by his motto of 'playing hard and playing to win', both on and off the field.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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