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Fan Following

Packed Wanderers enjoys the battle

An Indian travels to the Bullring and is blown away by the atmosphere and the Chargers' all-round show

Siddharth Raman
Quick glovework from Adam Gilchrist has Roelof van der Merwe short of his crease, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Deccan Chargers, IPL, final, Johannesburg, May 24, 2009

Roelof van der Merwe survived the heat from the Deccan players, but couldn't take his side to victory  •  Associated Press

Team supported
I support the Mumbai Indians, because of Sachin Tendulkar, and also because I am from Mumbai. However, in the final I was rooting for the Deccan Chargers - a line-up that boasts Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds and Herschelle Gibbs is any fan's dream come true.
Key performer
There was no single key performer for the Chargers - their bowlers and fielders did an excellent job to prevent the Royal Challengers getting off to a start like they did against Chennai the previous night. Rohit Sharma, Gibbs and Symonds formed an impregnable fortress on the off side.
One thing I would have changed about the match
Gilchrist getting out in the first over. The full house at the Wanderers deserved to be treated to an innings similar to the one he played against Delhi.
Face-off I relished
Symonds v Roelof van der Merwe. Symonds gave him the red-carpet welcome when van der Merwe came out to bat. He responded with some hits into the stands. But eventually the batsman lost the battle.
Katrina Kaif was in the Royal Challengers box. Since it was the final, the team owners were also present. Some of us were able to catch a fleeting glimpse of the Shetty sisters.
Wow moment
Harmeet Singh's catch of R Vinay Kumar off the last ball of the penultimate over. The tension at that point had touched stratospheric levels and for him to have pulled off that catch took some courage.
Cheerleader factor
The Deccan cheerleaders won a close battle. They were full of energy and always ready and keeping an eye on the game to get their cue. The Royal Challengers cheerleaders had some really acrobatic moves, but towards the end of the second innings their players didn't give them much to cheer about.
Crowd meter
The stadium seemed to be packed. A lot of people had travelled from India for the semis and final. There were a couple of rounds of the Mexican wave, which was a sight to behold. Also once, when the crowd started chanting "We Want Sixer", Gibbs obliged the very next delivery.
Local hero
Quite a few - Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and van der Merwe for the Royal Challengers, and Gibbs for the Chargers. The loudest cheer, though, was for Gibbs.
The usual dose of foot-tapping Hindi remixes. During the strategy break there was a live band, which played some good English numbers.
An excellent experience. I had heard about the Wanderers being one of the most imposing grounds in the world, but I experienced it first-hand. A packed Bullring can give anyone goosebumps!
Marks out of 10
9 for a close finish. Would have been 10 had it been a high-scoring close finish. But a match worthy of a final, nonetheless.
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Siddharth Raman is a software professional working in Bangalore. His closest encounter with professional cricket was when he got to be a ballboy for an India-South Africa ODI, and his 15 seconds of fame was when he fielded a back-foot punch through the covers off Sachin Tendulkar's bat on the safer side of the boundary. He likes to read about cricket, and books by and about cricketers. Steve Waugh's Out of My Comfort Zone is his all-time favourite.