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Now that's what I call a game

Few sixes but lots of fun. A spectator soaks it up at a low-scoring thriller at the Wanderers

Ronnie Shumba
18-May-2009
Irfan Pathan's team-mates rush towards him after he sealed the victory, Deccan Chargers v Kings XI Punjab, IPL, 49th match, Johannesburg, May 17, 2009

Everyone wants a piece of blue-eyed boy Irfan  •  Associated Press

Team supported
Bangalore Royal Challengers, because of their South African contingent, and the hope that their cricketing quality will transform to victory.
Key performer
I changed my tune with every swing that the match took. Rohit Sharma threatened, Ramesh Powar almost got my nod; Yuvraj, when he took the hat-trick, I thought it was definitely him, but I finally decided on the highest scorer, since this was a bowler's game: so my key perfomer was Kumar Sangakkara.
One thing I would have changed about the match
The game itself was fantastic. To change anything would be to dishonour a classic. I got inside the stadium as the third Punjab wicket fell, so I would definitely have changed my poor timekeeping and arrived in time for the match. I would also have liked to see Yusuf Abdulla bowl, but then again, who would he have replaced?
Face-off I relished
I wanted Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds to square off against Brett Lee, especially after Gilchrist had masterminded an over of bouncers to Lee in the Kings XI innings. Well, nothing much happened. Gilchrist eventually ended up laying into Irfan before getting beaten by Powar.
Star spotting
The cameras were on the animated Preity Zinta, who chewed her fingers, clasped her face and jumped up and down in pure joy. I also spotted Gerald Majola and former minister Essop Pahad, but no one major.
Wow moment
Again there were a few: Powar's near hat-trick, and Sangakkara's diving stumping, but the definitive one was Irfan outsmarting the aggressive Rohit when the game looked done and dusted.
Cheerleader factor
Both sets of cheerleaders had some nifty moves, but I have found the concept tedious and actually think they should be on at long breaks only, since they seem to run out of moves otherwise. I liked the Deccan Chargers group more. I still don't know how one from the Kings XI group got injured (if I was home I could possibly have seen a replay of the injury-inducing move).
Crowd meter
The Bullring was packed and I was informed by the tellers at Computicket when I was collecting my ticket that I was lucky to have made an online purchase, as the game had been sold out. I actually had a cheeky offer for my ticket.
The crowd consisted of see-sawing neutrals, who cheered every twist and turn - no visible partisan passion for either team. A few seemed to support the Chargers as long as Herschelle Gibbs was going, but after that they followed the winner of any particular tussle.
The DJ managed to choreograph the crowd beautifully, making them scream and clap to his urging.
Local hero
Undoubtedly Gibbs received loud cheers, and when he was given not out after a near run-out, we all roared in unison. Abdulla didn't play and disappointed a few fans who had come to see him claim the purple cap.
Entertainment
The music played was mostly bhangra, which blared loudly from the speakers - good beats, but since there was no comprehension for me, it became boring. I noticed there seemed to be a Kings XI song and a Deccan Song, which went with every wicket or six.
Overall
After the Kings XI innings I thought it was going to be a walk in the park for Gibbs, Gilly and Co, but in the end it was wow, wow and wow again. An amazing rollercoaster, which left us with sore throats as we cheered the twist and turns. The match reinforced why people love sport: it's never over until its over.
Was that you, Andrew?
Having missed a few Deccan games, I almost didn't recognise a dread-less Andrew Symonds bowling .
Most sore moment
Dropping a catch, twisting an ankle and then having the next ball edged must have really hurt for Piyush Chawla.
Things only a couch potato wants
I found myself impatiently waiting for replays of near run-outs and every other moment, but in the ground you don't hear any stump mikes or get any replays.
Marks out of 10
For pure entertainment I will give the game an 8 on 10. I had issues with the low score, as I expect sixes to flow at the Wanderers, but in the end I think it made the game much more interesting.
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Ronnie Shumba is 28, and resides in Johannesburg. He is an accountant by profession, but dabbles in rap under the name Closet MC, and also fancies himself a writer. He is a sports junkie, and watches a lot of sport on TV; his favourite teams are Arsenal, Kaiser Chiefs, the Sharks, the Proteas, and the Zimbabwe cricket team. He's always online checking out Cricinfo or Football365 and his social site