April 10, 2013
Choice of game
I had marked this game down as a must-see as soon as the fixtures were released, since it was Mumbai's first home game for the season. Also, Delhi is arguably the one city-franchise any Mumbai fan would love to see defeated.
Having been born and brought up in Mumbai, I've always supported the Mumbai Indians. Also, I genuinely believe that this city is the home of Indian cricket.
Judging by the loud applause the Mumbai openers got, you would have got the sense that Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar were the key contributors. However, Mumbai's mainstay was the ever-consistent Dinesh Karthik. He came in with his team in a spot of bother at 1 for 2, and held his nerve in a manner that would have made any top-order batsman proud. He unleashed a lethal barrage of strokes on the Delhi bowlers , catching them completely off-guard.
One thing I would have changed
The first thing I would have changed about the match is the failure of the Mumbai Indians openers. For all the hype around Ponting and Tendulkar, this was a rather massive anticlimax. The anticipation was immense and the entire stadium was looking forward to some Ponting-Tendulkar magic. However, everyone was stunned into silence when the legends were sent packing in the first two overs itself.
Face-off I relished
Judging by the intensity with which Lasith Malinga was warming up, David Warner v Malinga was right up there on my list. Warner came out on top against Malinga as was evident from the fearless on-the-up drives against brute pace. I was also looking forward to seeing the Delhi bowlers - in particular Morne Morkel and Shahbaz Nadeem - go up against the Mumbai batting. It was in this fixture last year that they had Mumbai in a tizzy, before storming home to victory. Although the initial hiccups brought back memories of last season, the latter half of the Mumbai innings ensured the Delhi bowlers finished a distant second.
Ambati Rayadu's onslaught in the 19th over, and Rohit Sharma's perfect finish in the final over were right up there for me. However, the best moment had to be Ponting's spectacular catch of Unmukt Chand off the first ball of the Delhi innings. The electric atmosphere was evident as it got to even the most unemotional captain going around. Ponting threw his hands up in the air with joy on completing the catch. There was something about Punter that struck the right chords with the Wankhede faithfuls.
Shot of the day
The shot of the day has to be the first six hit by Kieron Pollard in his brief blitz of an innings. His gentle flick over long-on seemed like an effortless push that would lob into the outfield for a couple of runs. But it ended up sailing into the crowd and was greeted by surprise and exhilaration in the stands.
The Wankhede crowd has always been the benchmark when it comes to atmosphere or hostility depending on which side of the coin you prefer to look at. This night was no different as the Delhi players were booed, while all members of the home team, and especially that one man, were given a standing ovation. Every time Tendulkar touched the ball, or even got close, the reaction was so loud you'd have thought a six had been hit. The most interesting banner was held by a girl in the Garware pavilion which read, "Pollard I love you, marry me".
A Mumbai Indians match at the Wankhede is always full of colour and noise. For this game, along with the customary Mumbai shirt and flag, I carried along a Malinga-style fuzzy hair wig and a make-believe vuvuzela.
The entertainment was top-notch, though limited only until 10 pm owing to local laws against loud music. The live DJ added to the excitement and ensured the crowd was involved throughout the game. The mix of international and Bollywood music was good, but the Ganpati bappa morya chant got the crowd engaged like nothing else had managed to.
Marks out of 10
Overall, this game had everything I expect out of an IPL experience. A 10/10 show, and hats off to all stakeholders involved. It was complete and thorough entertainment for everyone who turned up.
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