Friday, May 09, 2008

Aala Re! The IPL adventure

After endless discussions over lunch on IPL, the players, the money, trying not to punch Tomite for his annoying loyalty towards the Super Kings, Sabby's pre-match trash talks and Vinite's cribs about Mumbai Indians not signing major stars, someone came up with the idea of watching the game live in Mumbai. After two unsuccessful attempts at executing the plan (mainly due to Maddy's other commitments ;-) ) and yet another unsuccessful attempt by Vinite to carry out an online transaction, the newly unemployed your's truly managed to get hold of tickets from a Reliance Fresh outlet.

So, after weeks of planning and convincing Maddy to wrap up his plans for that day, we took the long journey to The D. Y. Patil Cricket Stadium at Nerul East. As luck would have it, there was a Megablock at Kharghar and so we had to get off at Vashi after switching two trains. "The Indians better deliver today", I mumbled to myself as the dude standing behind me in the overpacked bus kept kicking me. I did manage to stamp on the dude's shoes before I got off. Pure evil..i know! The buzz outside the stadium was obviously about the One known as God not playing. After another 15 mins in the long line, going through shady characters dealing in black tickets and the customary pushing and shoving and the so called security checks, we finally made it inside the ground.

Big D spotted the Reliance Trends outlets selling the Mumbai Indians Merchandise. The people at Reliance Industries surely wont let any opportunity to make a quick buck pass by. Selling cheap merchandise outside the stadium is yet another revenue generator for the Ambanis. The lads didn't need much convincing by Big D, and soon, we put on our new "Tendulkar 10" jerseys and walked into the jam-packed stadium.

My first impression after getting in was "Wow! this is some awesome ground!". Its absolutely beautiful with comfortable seats offering terrific view from any part of the ground, an awesome quick outfield and a state-of-the-art media centre. It will look fabulous once they put up the roof. The only negative point is the huge gap on either side of the VIP box. My guess is that all the sound escapes from these gaps and hence you don't get those Wankhede stadium noise levels on the ground. But nevertheless, its an awesome ground and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. In the words of Ravi Shastri, "you could feel the intensity in the air".

The Daredevils won the toss and not-so-surprisingly chose to field first. I think, thats the trend that seems to be catching up these days. Teams prefer to field first, restrict the opposition to a total and then chase down under the lights taking into consideration the dew in the latter half of the game and the possible advantage of knowing a target before hand. You can never say, what total will be good enough in the T20 format. The umpires then came on to the field quite appropriately to the tune of K-R-A-Z-Z-Y 4. In the back of my mind, I hoped that the 4 officials would do no justice to the Hrithik-SRK track and sense would prevail in the tense moments in the game.

Soon, the Devils came out to some dull Daredevils tune. Of all the teams, their's has to be the worst anthem!"jo khelta hai woh jeetata hai...something something..." The Mumbai opening batsmen came out to a rapturous applause and the lezim and Nashik dhol playing in the backgroud.

The Dhol got the crowd dancing on their seats. All the noise and 55000 loud supporters ought to make any opposition nervous and it showed in the first few overs. Takawale and Jayasuriya got off to a cautious start before Surya, as the crowd affectionately chants his name, hit some vicious blows to get the crowd and the score going. Yo! Mahesh finally got rid of the two batsmen in one over (the delivery that uprooted Surya's leg stump was one peach of a delivery!) and it was upto Uthappa and Bravo to consolidate the innings.

The crowd was having fun within the "dull" parts of the innings by throwing paper-rockets at A B de Villiers standing at the boundary. De Villiers was game enough to accept the challenge and threw back a few planes inside, much to the crowd's delight. There are always a couple of wiseguys in the crowd who create their own chants "Mangalmurti Uthappa" or "nick de de Dominic" (the latter coined by apna Sabby). Robin Uthappa hit a suicidal cheeky back flip to get himself out like he does so often these days. It threw the Mumbai innings in a sort of a crisis at 90/4 but thanks to some good hitting by Dominic Thornley and a late but extremely useful hard hitting by Shaun Pollock, Mumbai managed to get to a fighting total of 162/8.

The innings break was well utilized by yours truly over two yummy Samosas. Seats were swapped and I sat next to Sabby to rub on some salt on his would-be wounds if the Indians clobbered his Dare Hue Devils. The Devils innings started and Polly Kaka meant business. He tied down Gambhir (who has his own chant...Goti goti goti the tune of that Foster's ad) and finally Nehra got rid of him early. Dhawan was taken by Polly and the visitors were struggling for 7/2 after 3 overs. De Villiers and Sehwag tried to resurrect the innings but A B fell to some good reflexive work by Dhaval Kulkarni. Sehwag hit some meaty blows and the home crowd appreciatively gave him an applause for his efforts. The match carried on till the crucial 13th over when suddenly Sabby n co rose up...i was like WTF! till I realized that after 6-7 failed attempts, the crowd managed to get a Mexican wave going. And then the waves kept coming. Suddenly, the match reached a high tide with the crowd creating a wave after every 10 seconds...kudos! to the crowd for getting it right! The Daredevils innings crumbled like cookies in the crucial stage of the game much to Vinite's delight and Sabby's disgust! The joy on the face of the victor and the anguish on that of the vanquished is quite evident from the pics here...

At the end, the Indians had a good victory with a decent batting performance, a miserly bowling performance and an absolutely awesome fielding effort, hallmark of any Shaun Pollock team. Come to think about it, why was Bhajji chosen as the captain when we had the likes of Pollock and Surya in the team? Strange are the ways of Indian cricket and its wise not to question the insane. Anyhooo, one has to see an IPL game live. Watching it on TV at home is just not the same. The intensity, the atmosphere, the cheerleaders, the music and ofcourse the cricket...its one carnival not to be missed. Its an event well organised, keeping the crowd involved in the game all the time is not easy and the event organizers have done a splendid job. They have done their homework and know their crowd. When the game becomes a tad dull, a foot-stomping bollywood number is played to get the spirits roaring again. So, Lalit Modi and co...take a bow...its a job fantastically done!

1 comment:

Reshma said...

will always regret not coming here.. one of the best matches ..