Watching RCB Matches at Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
IPLT20 League in India has become one of the biggest sporting entertainments that has gripped the Nation. Cricket fans across the country enjoy watching their favourite National & International stars for 2 months. Many of the players from different countries, are rivals while playing for their National team. But when in IPL, the same competitive players share a laugh, play together and share a dressing room together. This tournament has brought young and old to the stadium to experience the fun. I was lucky to watch 3 of the IPL home games for RCB at M.Chinnaswamy stadium. In this article, I will share more info about the matches and my personal experience.
RCB Loyalists / FANs
We also see that every team has its loyal fan-base that supporting their team. Royal Challengers Bangalore is also one such team that has never won the cup but has had its loyalists. RCB is led by Virat Kohli, who’s also the captain for Indian Cricket Team. The team may not have faired well across the tournament, but the fans continue to support Virat Kohli & team.The fan-base is so strong that there is always a positive outlook after every win/loss. Like they always say, “once a fan always a fan”.
The M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore is one of the legendary stadium for many years. In the past, we used to know this track to a spinner paradise. But for the IPL the curators have done a tremendous job to make it the most batsman friendly pitch. This means that the fans get to see plenty of 4s and 6s being hit, which makes crowd berserk. The stadium has vibrancy about itself that keeps everyone energized all the time. Usually there is a MC who keep the crowd engaged by chanting / shouting / doing some action.
Cricket fans make sure that they book for the tickets well in advance. I have been for 3 matches this season and interacted with many of the fans. They travel from different part of Karnataka and few from other states to watch live matches in stadium. Without a doubt it’s the cricket exhibition and entertainment given by the player to the fans.
Royal Challengers Bangalore had one of the best teams on papers and everyone thought that the IPL Trophy would be ours. The slogan, “Ee Sala Cup Namday” meaning “this time the cup is ours” reverberates in everyone’s mind. With little bit of luck, I thought that our team will come out top of the IPL league. I loved every player in our team including – Kohli, AB De Villars, Moeen Ali, Parthiv Patel, Stoinis, Steyn, Umesh, Chahal, Saini, Siraj.Let me share my experience of being part of few of the matches.
RCB vs MI Encounter (29th Mar’19)
This was the first home game for the RCB team, and the fans expected nothing less than a WIN for RCB. The stage was set for an epic battle between Virat Kohli’s men in RED vs Rohit Sharma’s men in BLUE. After a year I could hear that chant from people mouth saying – RCB! RCB! RCB! One always gets goose-bumps being in the stadium of nearly 40k people chanting the same thing. Every seat had an RCB flag that kept for people to pick up and wave it whenever the team scores or gets wickets.
The match started with the MI playing first and scoring around 187. Only RCB player who did good in the 1st half was Chahal who got 4 wickets. It was time for RCB to chase and the crowd expecting that they will do it after the debacle at the hands of CSK at Chennai. RCB team did have a steady start before team lost 2 wickets with 67 runs on board. Now, we had Virat Kohli and 360-degree players AB De Villiers at the crease. Everyone was jubilant and expected that they will get the team across the line. It was not to be as Kohli perished when the score for 116. It seemed very much doable until we lost 2 more wickets with AB De Villiers stranded at one end. Fans were tense but still cheered on as we saw that ABD was in sublime touch. It was not to be and RCB ended up losing by 6 runs with ABD not able to finish it off.
Bangalore has always been a neutral venue which meant that the three were many MI fans as well. RCB team might have lost but everyone went back home with their fellow MI fans, sharing a laugh.
There was a special hospitality section for some of the guests. This meant that guests would get access to dinner and drinks at one of the places. The food was good and was perfect to regain energy during an energy sapping encounter. There was also alcohol from Royal Challenge brand, beer and soft drinks.
The section also had multiple Flat TVs so guests could continue to watch the match while having food. Glad to see good arrangement made in the stadium for select guests.
RCB vs KKR Encounter (5th April’19)
This was the 5th match for RCB and the team was yet to register a win. There was immense pressure on the team and there were attempts being made to get the combination right. One of the good New Zealand seamer, Tim Southee was brought in to play the match. There was very high expectation among fans.
Kolkata Knight Rider team also has got many followers that mostly comprise of the large Bengali population in the city. But there were also many KKR fans, as they love the team-owner Sharukh Khan. There were divided audience in the stadium, and all were expecting a good clash.
RCB batted first and started off very well with some splendid batting by Virat and ABD. They both put on a 108-run partnership in 57 balls. Stoinis also chipped in with a quick-first 28 to post a total of 205 for RCB putting the team in driving seat.
Cricket is a very funny game at times and unexpected events happen that leave people shocked. This is what happened during the massive chase. KKR team lost wickets at regular intervals and score stood at 139/4 when Nitish Rana got out and Andre Russel walked in to bat. To be precise the team needed 66 runs of 26 balls. Every cricket pundit would then say that it was a target that the rival team KKR can’t achieve. The next wicket fell in 8 balls in form of Dinesh Karthik, leaving the team at 153/5. KKR needed 53 runs of 18 balls and from all we know that game was very much under control for RCB. The 18th over bowled by Siraj & Stoinis went for 23 runs that mean that KKR needed 30 runs of 2 overs.
The fans were tense but then there was always a hope in the mind of people. Virat brought back New Zealand seamer, Tim Southee to come and bowl his last over. And then what happened in that over, left everyone shell shocked and many heart-broken. That over Southee was hit for 1, 6, 6, 6, 4, 6 and KKR now needed just 1 run of last over. The shot-making by Russel was so brutal that almost every ball went for a 6 or 4.
Being amidst the crowd, I could feel the pain in the eyes of many RCB fans. There was many sobbing on others shoulders while there were many who cried from within. The best thing was that even the KKR fans were shocked and could not comprehend what had happened.
It was an amazing match for a neutral cricket fan as there were 407 runs scored in 40 overs. But as I was coming out of the stadium, after RCB had lost its 5th match in a row, I noticed something. There were fans, who were still shouting and cheering for RCB. This is the true fan-following that RCB team enjoys that makes fans come back again to cheer.
I was in a stand that had some crazy crowd all around me. But this time there was something special that happened in the stadium. A specific drummer and his troop were moving from stand to another and performed to entertain the crowd. They would be in a stand for 15-20mts, engage the crowd and then move to the next stand. Their performance sure did energize the crowd to the fullest.
The stand had access to a fan-zone that had various games for fans, other snacks and eatables. With all the commotion, the security and organization looked top notch. Good job by DNA Networks Team.
RCB vs DC Encounter (7th April’19)
This was the 6th match for RCB and the 20th in the IPL’19 tournament. Virat Kohli’s team needed a win to boost their own confidence and give back to their loyal fans. I had very high hopes as RCB team looked strong compared to Delhi Capitals (DC). But from past matches, I knew that the match would not be as easy as expected.
In this match, RCB was promoting the ‘Go Green’ initiative and the players were sporting the Green color jersey. The flags were also of green color and there was ‘Sea of GREEN’ flags instead of the usual ‘Sea of RED’ flags.
Playing first, RCB team could only manage to put 149 on the board. The highest scorer was none other than Virat Kohli who managed 41. Parthiv, ABD, Moeen, Stoinis, none of them clicked. The only hope for RCB was with the addition of specialist spinner in ‘Pawan Negi’.
The second innings started off with Southee picking up the wicket of Shikar Dhawan in 1st over. Crowd started to believe that the team had a change in fortune and that they would win. The match was on a Sunday and there were many children who were there at the stadium. It was very sweet to see the kids wave the GREEN RCB fan and cheering for RCB team.
As expected, the total was not good enough and DC managed to score the required runs with 7 balls to spare. Shreyas Iyer, the captain of DC contributed well by scoring 67 runs in 50 balls. It was a very clinical performance by the DC team and there was a lot ponder for RCB team.
RCB team had lost the 6th match in a row but it was hard to blame the captain as he has been consistent. The team had to rub-off from the consistent performance by Virat but it was not to be. It seemed like everyone were lacking the mojo to win.
During the post-match interview with Ian Bishop, I could many fans staying back just to watch Virat Kohli. They wanted to hear their idol speak a few words and instil the belief. He did his best and for sure the fans love him for everything he does.
This was one of the special stands called WROGN Special stand. It was right next to the place from where players from both teams enter/leave the ground. I could see all the RCB and DC players from a very close distance. It was memorable experience looking at some of my favourite like Virat Kohli, AB De VIlliars, Shikar Dhawan, Rishab Pant and more.
The fans would crowd in the corner, to get a glimpse of the players and take a selfie while the players walked across. Security arrangement needed to be spot on as there is always a possibility of a fan losing cool. But the DNA Networks representative in the stands made sure that fans and the players always safe.
This has been one of the most memorable seasons for watching IPL for me. It was nearly 6-7 back when I watch more than 3 matches in stadium during an IPL season. But if I were to compare over the year, the energy has gone up as there many young followers. Many who were not liking the sport, have started loving for the entertainment it provides.
TicketGenie has been doing a fabulous job with RCB-ticketing for this mega cricket tournament. I can vouch for their commitment that ensures that the person with right ticket is allowed inside. The team also needed to work hard to make sure the fans don’t jump across stands to get a better view. They also had to ensure that none of the fans misbehaved with others. And, it was necessary to give directions to fans whenever inside the stadium to reach up to seats.
DNA Networks has done a great job with the security arrangements. There were many times when fans would just get so involved that they don’t realize they were obstructing other fans watching. DNA Networks representatives would give instructions and easy the situation to let everyone enjoy the match.
Though the RCB team has not be able to win during the matches I watched, I appreciate their effort and commitment. I love Virat Kohli as a player and feel that the team will bounce back with wins going forward. I hope to share many more experiences of watching the matches in my future blogs.
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