Monday, 30 April 2012



Fan following report – Mumbai Indians vs. Deccan Chargers, 29th April, Mumbai.
First published on ESPN Cricinfo -

Choice of game
Contrary to what popularity belief, IPL is also cricket. And when any kind of cricket happens at the Wankhede, a cricket-loving Mumbaikar can’t help but go! There is an intrinsic need to see live cricket and experience the stadium atmosphere. So I, along with, my extended clan set off to watch Mumbai Indians take on the Deccan Chargers.

Team supported
As our jerseys, armbands, caps, banners, bandanas and flags suggested, we were out there to support the home team. In fact I don’t think anyone at the Wankhede was wearing deep blue for any other team but Mumbai Indians.  And although I was supporting Harbhajan’s men, I admit, one of the main reasons I picked this match was to watch Deccan captain Kumar Sangakkara (which didn’t happen of course) and see Dale Steyn bowl live!

Key performer
The key performers for the winning team were their bowlers, bundling out the opposition for a measly 100 runs in 18.4 overs. Lasith Malinga showed that his injury was left behind with a lethal spell and four wickets and even skipper Bhajji came to the party with two. But as the Man of the match Award suggested, Dale Steyn was the best performer of the day. Just watching him bowl at that speed is sheer adrenaline rush! With figures of 4-0-10-2 in a run chase of 101 against a prolific team, Steyn made sure that nobody who saw it would forget his performance, even I he ended up on the losing side.

Face-off you relished
Lasith Malinga vs. Batsmen and Dale Steyn vs. Batsmen! With the two most lethal T20 bowlers out in the middle, there were always going to be fireworks. And they didn’t disappoint. Watching Sachin Tendulkar square up to Steyn, Cameron White get beaten my Slinga’s pace and Levi’s stumps taking a flying leap on the first ball were all exciting!

One thing you’d have changed about the match
Some people at the Wankhede have all the maturity of a child Sreesanth and Shahid Afridi would produce! I say this from all past experiences at the ground and I maintain that when it comes to sensibility, there is something seriously lacking. There were the usual scuffles and arguments – “Please sit, I can see/ you are blocking my view of the camera. So? Does your Pop own the stadium?”  But there were some loud (not to mention unnecessary) fights as well, which ruined the atmosphere. Especially in the second innings where the music shuts off thanks to the 10-pm deadline. And in stadiums where people do not know the difference between ‘noise’ and ‘din’, those trumpets and whistles should be banned!

Crowd meter
The Wankhede crowd meter is always high to the pint of busting and this was no different. The buzz around the stadium is something additive and every time I step in I feel that Wankhede is a living entity! The incessant chanting to their God, Sachin Tendulkar, is something you have to see to believe. And the hoarse cries of ‘Malingaaaa, Malingaaaa’ for each of the 22 deliveries he bowled, are enough to pep up all the other bowlers. (I suspect Mali isn’t loved and cheered for so much even in Sri Lanka!) And the shout-outs for captain ‘Bhajjiiii’ were so enthusiastic, there is no way he could have continued his dry run. The Mexican Waves, albeit not as eager, was good to watch. But the silence when Steyn was doing his thing was bit of a letdown. As the only Mumbai Indian cheering inanely at Levi’s wicket I’d say, let’s appreciate good cricket and forget sides for a moment.

For some strange reason, dancing to Bollywood songs on a far-off stage was considered entertainment. But the choice of songs wasn’t bad, from English chart-busters to Hindi item numbers to popular Marathi numbers, the music was a medley aimed at catering to the entire crowd. Though nobody would complain if they played that trademark trumpet-horn sound a little less often.

Anything else you care to mention
I call this article ‘The Cult of the Mumbai Indian’ for a reason. I was asked who a Mumbai Indian is and the best I can put it is ‘The hordes of people transcending age, class and community, who descend at the Wankhede all dressed in blue and covered in merchandise every IPL with a loud noise and even louder behavior. And I say this with affection. I have seen people who claimed who go all out crazy at the stadium, elderly ladies in all traditional finery jumping and screaming player names, kids naming international and domestic players after spotting them from a distance, decked-up-for-the-runway girls armed with their mobile-camera clicking everything in sight and entire families coming out together and letting their hair down. But I find this very appealing because it shows me the reach cricket has and the way it can bring people together. Underneath all the clatter and chaos, lies the love for cricket that every Indian is born with.

Marks out of 10
8. A point cut for the rowdy spectators and another for the slow and almost boring batting. But the 8 points for the insane atmosphere, the shrieking crowds made of all age groups and the adrenaline rush of watching a cricket match at the Wankhede!

1 comment:

  1. Nice description, landed on this blog via the fan network, and trust me it's great to see a female sports fan, for that sure are rare species. Went through some other posts as well, u seem to be into many sports..keep posting..:)