Had been to the inaugural Indian Premier League T20 match today at the Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore. The experience was a mixed bag with few highs and lot of lows.
Me and Pradeep reached the stadium at 4:00 PM, though the inaugural ceremony was only starting at 6:00PM. We reasoned out that since there were no seat numbers on our tickets, the best seats would be FCFS. And we wanted to ensure that we get the best seats in our section. And that we did. We got to sit at this place such that line of sight of was perpendicular to the pitch. And to our left side was the Big screen where we could see the proceedings clearly, in case we missed something on the ground.
Kevin, Shuaib and Pooja were just in time for the inaugural ceremony. The atmosphere was electric.
First it was Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, which enthralled the audience by singing popular bollywood songs. Then came the troupe, I don’t know from where, which did Rope tricks, and all kinds of fantastic things. It was as if an opera was going on in the stadium. That was followed by a spectuacular dislplay of Lasers and Fireworks. And after this, came Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar introducing the captains of the different Teams. As expected, Sachin Tendulkar got the loudest cheer of all! Half the money’s worth actually 🙂
Everyone knew that the “Royal Challengers Bangalore” was a test team. And one team which we were hoping to be equally bad was the “Kolkota Knight Riders“. So we had gone expecting a close match. And precisely at that moment Balu joined us. So were were set for an interesting game of cricket, hoping to get the rest of our money’s worth.
But things weren’t as expected at all. Brendon McCullum took the match away from us from the second over by slogging Zaheer Khan for 18 runs. And single handedly ensured that Kolkota team was comfortably placed at 222/3 after 20 overs. He scored 158 not-out in 73 balls with 13 sixes and 10 fours. It was a innings to be watched and cheered, if only it was scored by the batsman of the team you were supporting! When he was on facing, one could very well expect for ball to be sent all over the park. Amongst the bowlers, only Praveen Kumar showed some promise in the initial overs, but he too wasn’t spared in the death.
After the Knight Riders‘ innings, Kevin gave his “vishesh tippani” that the pitch was a flat one, so the target should be gettable. All depended on how the early batsmen approached the game.
So when the Royal Challengers’ opening batsmen took the pitch, they got the loudest cheers. Before they could acknowledge it with some sweet willow music, Ishant sharma bowled a beauty to get Dravid out the first ball of the second over. And since then, the team never recovered. Jaffer looked as though he was trying to prove to the selecters how strong his defence was, how good he was at leaving alone the balls outside the offstump, so that they would consider him for the next test match. It was getting so irritating, that we were praying for him to get out. But that didn’t happen. What was worse was, his partners kept getting out! And all of them playing rash shots, or totally misjudging the line of the ball. It came to a point that one could hear loud cheers when wides were bowled or singles were taken. Because there was nothing else that was there to cheer about. Oh, probably we didn’t understand what the advertisement board meant when it proclaimed “Cheers to Life”. Anyway the second innings was definitely not something which one would expect out of a T20 match.
I was wondering if the Royal Challengers had confused this T20 match for one of Vijay Mallya’s Page-3 Fashion shows! The batsmen came to the pitch, stayed for a very short duration, and went back to the pavilion as if they were models on the ramp. The team ended up scoring an abysmal final total losing all the wickets, thereby giving King Khan and his men their first victory in the T20 championship.
Come to think of it, what was going through Rahul Dravid’s mind when he asked Mallya during the Team selection,
“Mr Mallya, do you want your team to be comprised of Stars or Performers?”
to which Mallya replied
And Dravid said,
“Then you shall have them”
If these we call these men performers, I am very disappointed to say that the home crowd was expecting a much better performance in the inaugural match, after the spectacular inauguration ceremony. Atleast they could have shown some grit and determination instead of appearing so lost, before actually losing the match.
Mr Mallya, I completely understand that in Formula 1, it’ll take Force India some time before we can expect a Podium Finish. We’re still new to the game.
But that’s not the case when it comes to Cricket. You succeeded in securing the second most expensive franchise in the league and look whom you chose as your players. Or is it that you’re not very much bothered about the team’s performance since you’re think you’ve struck a bargain in getting a platform to promote “High Flying” brands with all those surrogate advertisements splattered all across the stadium?
I remember one of my friends’ quotes from one of our cheap “high flying” sessions at college: “McDowells, as the ad claims, is truly mera No.1. It tastes like piss“. I guess it applies to the Royal Challengers as well. Only this time, it is Mallya’s No.1, which, even he hast to admit, has pissed off a lot of fans.