May 12, 2014
Features : Yuvraj's blast from the past ends in heartbreak
Series/Tournaments: Pepsi Indian Premier League
Choice of game
This was going to be my last live IPL game for quite some time so what better choice than a revenge match against Rajasthan Royals. I expected the match to be extremely competitive and I was sure that Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to settle scores after they had received a hiding from Rajasthan Royals in the UAE. In my last report, I had stated that I wanted Yuvraj Singh to spend more time at the crease and score heavily. I guess he read it.
I was supporting Bangalore. I knew they would enjoy a huge home advantage and that they had the crowd behind them. The team was desperate for a win as were the fans, and the atmosphere in the stadium was highly charged.
This innings was vintage Yuvraj and what a pleasure to watch him in full flow. As soon as he started sweeping the spinners down leg side for boundaries, the crowd sensed they were in for a special night. He starred for Bangalore not only with the bat but also with the ball. The crowd gave him a standing ovation, which carried on long after he entered the pavilion. Today he owned the crowd and his performance is one that won't be forgotten for a long, long time.
One thing I'd have changed
I really wanted Bangalore to win. I have always been a great fan of Yuvraj and my heart goes out to him for being on the losing side in spite of a great performance. The crowd was stunned to see the team lose and was openly berating the bowlers on the way out. I noticed that a lot of them even threw their team flags in disgust as they made their way out. It was a very muted procession from the stands to the exit.
The face-off I relished
Pravin Tambe was on top of Yuvraj in the last encounter but today Yuvraj showed his true class. He swept Tambe for two boundaries in the same over, down the leg side, and they were good clean hits. Fans around me couldn't believe that this was the same Yuvraj who had struggled in the UAE.
I also loved the Watson v Yuvraj encounter, with Yuvraj sending back Watson with his leg stump uprooted. That roar from Yuvraj made the entire stadium delirious and everyone was jumping and roaring in the aisles. We couldn't hear the music in the background at that time.
Both Yuvraj and AB de Villiers reached their respective half-centuries off sixes.
de Villiers fielded near our stand and received a round of cheers whenever he waved at the crowd. The Bangalore crowd truly admires him and some of the loudest cheers were reserved for AB. We also had Mitchell Starc and Steven Smith patrolling the area where we sat.
Shot of the day
De Villiers' six off James Faulkner was the longest of the game, and it was hit on one knee. AB held the pose for the shutterbugs while we watched the ball sail into the deep end of the midwicket stand.
The stadium was packed and I noticed that my stand had a relatively young crowd. Generally I have seen a good mix of people of all ages in the past but it wasn't so this time. That said, the energy was infectious and a lot of people were dancing a lot more in the stand than I have seen at any point of time.
This was the also the first time when I have seen an entire stadium participate in a Mexican wave that lasted ten rounds without pausing. The DJ kept egging the crowd on and later mentioned that it was a record of sorts.
Generally the organisers do a great job in Bangalore but this time they messed up. For some reason my friend was not allowed to carry her purse inside. A cop took her out of the queue even before she reached the security booth. It led to a delay and a quick ride to her office to stow the bag. What really took the cake was that we noticed a lot of women were carrying their purses inside the stadium. We weren't given a reason and it really wasn't a fair decision.
T20s v ODIs
T20s, definitely. The ball finding the boundary in quick succession every over ensures that the crowd has a great time and that the action can never be dull. We were on our feet during both innings and were cheering and applauding throughout the match. Add to it a festive atmosphere, a DJ spinning some great music, and a young crowd - and the result is the best party in town.
Banner of the day
There were lots of banners for Mother's Day and others that had love messages for Virat Kohli. I saw quite a few girls holding placards with Kohli's name and a ton of hearts.
TV versus stadium
Watching from the stadium is like being in a big party. The atmosphere was festive, the weather was great, the Bangalore crowd was well behaved as always, and the music ensured that we continuously danced in our seats and in the aisles. It was a great experience and made me realise how much I would miss this carnival in the future.
Marks out of ten
8. I deduct one point for Bangalore's loss after Yuvraj and AB's heroics. Bangalore's bowlers were a big letdown and I hope that the team gets its dynamics right quickly if they wish to move ahead. I also deduct another point for the way my friend was treated at the security gate. But overall a great game of cricket and an exhilarating experience, one that won't be forgotten for a long time.
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