This year has been an year of firsts for me. My first date, my first time weighing around 50kg (ok, technically not the first time but first time in a long long time 🙂 ), my first time to a pub and then my first time to a stadium to watch a live cricket match! Just the idea of it is super exciting isn’t it? As I opened the TOI sports page this last Friday, I realized that there was a champions league T20 match on Saturday involving Deccan Chargers and Somerset County Cricket Club (ok, I honestly did not know about the latter team and had to verify my tickets to get their awfully long and boring name right ). Coming back to the plot -on our way to office, I mentioned about going to the match to two of my colleagues – Nikhil and Tarun and they immediately agreed. After lot of discussion/debate and frantic phone calls we came up with the final list of people who wanted to see the match. During lunch we drove to the nearest CCD and got tickets. It was surprisingly easy to get tickets on such a short notice because I expected lot of people to flock the stadium, this being the first match for the Chargers post their success at IPL-II. Its really funny when things for which you plan in advance for ages go haywire and short term proposals like this end up being a cakewalk. Oops, forgot to mention another backstory…..I had been planning a certain surprise for a certain khaas friend and fortunately stumbled upon the newspaper ad. So, oblivious to all these activities, my khaas friend was as clueless as Brittany Murphy in the movie by the same name ,when I told him he had a surprise in store .I could not wait for the day to end and although it did not seem like a match that would arouse lot of enthusiasm, I was really eager to catch a glimpse of Rohit Sharma (huge crush – do not ask me why ;)) and Adam Gilchrist (I do not need to tell why :)). I called up my khaas friend later that evening and gave him the surprise and am really glad that he loved it. Now all that was left to do was wait for Saturday!!
The tickets allowed one to see both the matches that were scheduled on Saturday – the first one between Cape Cobras and Otago Volts while the second one was between DC and SCCC. Joining in for the matches were Sandeep,Cini,PJ,Gunjan,CV and Ashwin. We hopped into two cars and headed for the Rajeev Gandhi International Cricket Stadium situated in Uppal around 2.30. After what seemed like ages ( I measure distance in units of time :P), we reached the venue and have to mention the absolute lack of planning by the officials to accommodate vehicles. Also, special mention to their ridiculous rule of not letting bottled water inside. A few of the guys had to walk all the way back to the cars to dump the water bottles and after what seemed like eternity we reached the stands. Our seats were on the first floor and we had an awesome view of the ground. It felt very strange, cricket is so different from how it seems on television. It suddenly did not seem too larger than life or anything. I went on with my observations much to the amusement of Tarun and Bhargava. A few of them were
-> Masceranhas looks really small (in my defense, I changed my opinion after seeing him field close to us near the boundary line)
-> Wow, Gibbs has an awesome physique 😛 (he really does , he’s chiseled :P)
-> Duminy is arrogant ( well, we kept shouting out to him and he pretended as if he could not hear a hundred people shouting)
Ok, so getting on with actual cricket. The first match was kind of boring since we really did not care much about either team but the guys had a gala time secretly catching glimpses of the cheerleaders. The ones towards our right were pretty good and one blonde in particular caught dear Nikhil’s fancy :). The ones to our left were pathetic. It was like they had dragged themselves on to the podium and were being forced to move. Their steps were bad, costumes were bad and energy levels were bad. That did not stop the junta from flocking to them though. I wonder why there are no male cheerleaders. Another case of gender bias I tell you :P. The emcee was doing an okay job of keeping the crowd entertained by initiating the mexican wave and playing a ‘wake-up’ trumpet sound which as time progressed annoyed all of us out. But, it was fun to shout for no reason at all and the match got over pretty quick. We all wanted to grab a bite before the DC match and as a few headed down to CCD – unfortunately, Nikhil’s wallet and Bhargava’s phone got flicked. Our spirits were dampened for a while but as soon as we saw the DC team on the ground practicing, a huge smile came on our faces. The entire team took a jog around the ground and it was incredible to see Symonds, Gilly etc from such close quarters. The fact that DC batted first made it all the more better. Every boundary and six was met with huge applause and chants of the batsman’s name. The atmosphere was great and the support the crowd was giving was amazing. We would break into an impromptu jig everytime the team’s song ‘Go-chargers-Go’ was being played. Have to admit though that the bowling by the opposition was good in the middle overs – in case the concept of middle overs does exist in T20 :). Finally we ended up with a decent score of 153. To be honest I was expecting a better total given the star-studded line-up of the DC team but the match took an interesting turn when SCCC lost quick wickets in succession thanks to RP Singh and Ojha. The match seemed to be heading for a nail biting finish with 5 runs required of the last over. Everyone in the stadium was on their feet, hoping and praying that somehow DC would pull through and break the curse of not having won a single match on their home ground. Scott Styris came on to bowl the deciding over and the very first ball resulted in the loss of a wicket. There was an enormous eruption in the stadium and suddenly it seemed as if DC could pull a win. The next delivery was a dot ball and its successor resulted in another wicket. We could not believe what we were seeing. It was nervousness and excitement unparalleled. Prayers were being offered to a higher power 😛 but damn that Thomas guy who hit two boundaries in the last 3 balls to snatch a victory. Curses went all around the stadium for him but he truly was a hero for his team. Unfortunately, the curse continues for DC but we got our money’s worth with an incredible finish that none expected. Watching a match under floodlights is a totally different experience and I am glad I got an opportunity to watch such an exciting match. Can’t wait to go to another live match.
The journey back home was hilarious. Most of us were feeling tired and sleepy so we switched on the radio and to out utter dismay found some AIR program running. The rj was ridiculous and funny for all the wrong reasons. We laughed our ass off in the car and made our way to Subway for a midnight snack. Yours truly was half asleep and walking like a zombie. Finally, we reached home and an adventure-filled day came to end.
PS: Cameras were not allowed inside and we had to make-do with PJ’s cell. Thanks to PJ for the pics !!