This was the 6th season of the IPL. But this was the first ever cricket match (any format) I watched live in a stadium. As is the case with Hyderabad, there was total chaos on the roads, hours before the match began. People had parked their vehicles where they found some space. The roads were choc-a-bloc with trucks, buses, cars, scooters, three wheelers and what not. It seemed as though everyone was heading for the stadium. Though we were about 10 minutes late, there was still quite a lot of chaos at the entry gates.
My first feeling as I walked into the stands – It was reminiscent of the scene from Kai Po Che when Ali comes out to bat. With over 40000 people yelling at the top of their voices, it felt like one was entering a cauldron. For a moment, I just looked around at the stands, at the people and at the field. It all looked so surreal, so beautiful, so awesome. I could just wonder on what it must feel for a cricketer to make his debut in front of such a vociferous crowd.
Dampener – I had come to watch the Gayle vs Steyn battle. But I soon realized that Gayle was already back in the pavilion. The rest of the game was relatively slow with just a few fours and a couple of sixes. Though the bowling was good, but generally in a T20, you expect some batting fireworks.
Atmosphere – Before this game, I always used to wonder what’s so special about watching a cricket match in a stadium. But now I know. There were people shouting and yelling all around. After every over, the DJ used to play some song or the other from Party Abhi Baaki Hai to Lat Lag Gayee to even Jumping Japang Jampak Jampak much to the delight of the crowd who were dancing as if it were a party. And then there was also the Mexican wave which the whole stadium did almost 8 times with such amazing coordination across different stands. It felt like a carnival. Truth be told, cricket was just a small part of the puzzle.
WOW cricketing moment – Though there were a couple of good batting and bowling performances courtesy Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma and Moises Henriques; for me it was the super over. It was a dream come true to see Steyn face off with Gayle in a nerve wrangling last couple of minutes. And the two sixes by Cameron White when it mattered the most were brilliant.
What could be improved – The entry and exit could be more decently maintained. There was a lot of hassling, shoving and pushing all around. The food stalls as usual were selling stuff at exorbitant rates looting people.Though the cricketing purists may not like it, the party and carnival like feel of an IPL game is sure to keep it popular among people of all ages for years to come!
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