April 30, 2013
Choice of game
I bought tickets for this game, firstly, because King XI Punjab were one of the few teams that beat Mumbai Indians at home last season, and more significantly, because I am a die-hard Preity Zinta fan.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai and that's where my loyalties lie. I believe this city is the home of Indian cricket.
Going by recent games, I thought Rohit Sharma and Mitchell Johnson were going to be Mumbai's key performers. Rohit seemed to relish the responsibility of being captain and the in-form batsman of the side. Johnson, I believed, was the key, because this Wankhede wicket was like no other currently in the country. It was almost like Mohali of old, full of bounce and swing . And given that most teams have figured Lasith Malinga out this season, Johnson was going to hold all the aces. And surprise , surprise, the main men proved their mettle and put forward some amazing performances to bring home the win.
Face-off I relished
I was rooting for Kings XI's young Indian top-order batsmen against Mumbai's opening bowlers, because their success would bode well for India in the future. I was also looking forward to see how Mumbai's middle order would do against Kings XI's slow bowlers. Would they be able to do what most other teams haven't managed and score well in the middle overs? The answer was an emphatic yes. After a slow start, the Mumbai middle order, led by Rohit and Kieron Pollard, paced its innings to perfection and ensured an extremely competitive score for Mumbai.
Pollard's catch: hands outstretched at the long-on boundary, he jumped high to pluck the ball out of thin air to dismiss Shaun Marsh. That catch seemed to revitalise the spectators, who had, until then, braced themselves for a tough chase from Kings XI.
Shot of the day
Rohit's six in the 16th over soared over square leg and into the top tier of the Wankhede.
The Wankhede crowd can create a great atmosphere for the home team and a hostile one for the opposition. Just ask Virat Kohli. I feel it is only right for the home crowd to support its team, whether that's India or Mumbai. That attitude was prevalent in this match as well, with the crowd trying its best to get on the nerves of the Kings XI players and to intimidate them.
An IPL night game in Mumbai is the perfect occasion to spot celebrities. I saw music director Anu Malik and actors Amisha Patel and Amit Sadh, but no one had the presence of Kings XI's charismatic and beautiful owner, Preity Zinta. I sat right behind her and got to see how excited she was and how seriously she took her cricket. An example of beauty with brains.
Banner of the day
I have to say that my banner became an instant hit with the Garware pavilion crowd. So much so, that when Preity Zinta walked in and took her seat right in front of me, she smiled and took a photo of my banner that read: "Marry me Preity".
Marks out of 10
10. Sitting behind to my favourite actress, watching a Rohit Sharma masterclass, and a last-ball finish: this match had everything I expected from an IPL experience. This league just keeps getting better and better.
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