A hail of Gayle shots

A hail of Gayle shots

Unmatched zest

A hail of Gayle shots

All smiles IPL has its share of women supporters. dhphoto by srikanta sharma r

The match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kings XI Punjab in the City last week was so one-sided. The Gayle storm decimated the Punjab team even before the latter's batsmen played their first ball.

In fact, it was like the entire stadium had been taken in by the Gayle storm. Placards screaming ‘Gayle storm’, ‘Hail Gayle’, ‘The new saviour in Gayle’ were held up high in the air and people swung them, every time Chris Gayle sent the ball beyond the ropes.
Cricket would have won the day if the Punjab team had put up a fight. But that was not to be, though Punjabis in the City rooted for the Kings.

Interestingly, the celebrity presence, this season, has been less than usual. Preity’s presence was missed. And after the much-hyped Siddhartha Mallya and Deepika Padukone ‘victory hug and kiss’, the actress decided to maintain a low profile and stayed inside the VVIP section.

Even when she came out for her dinner, Siddhartha quickly whisked her away. When asked for a picture, the damsel politely declined and said, “I am here on a ‘very’ personal visit, no pictures please.” Ramya left the stadium much before the match got over but Shivarajkumar stayed back and enjoyed the match. “This match truely belongs to Chris Gayle,” was his reaction.  

The mood was upbeat in the different lounges in the stadium. Since people knew that RCB would win, they lounged around, ate and drank easily and occasionally peeped into the stadium to see if the RCB fortunes were being snatched away.

Those who had come to cheer the Kings XI Punjab shifted loyalties half way through the match. “I am disappointed with the way Kings XI Punjab has been playing. There is very little competition on the field,” said Lokesh, a radio jockey who had flown in from Dubai just for the match. His friend Sid, who accompanied him said, “Half way through, we decided to cheer for RCB and I feel the way they played, they really deserved to win,” he added.

Some of the Punjabis were seeing supporting the RCB. “I am a Punjabi but I live in Bangalore so my heart goes out to RCB. They’re playing really well. It would have been nice if Kings XI Punjab had put up a fight,” V Kapoor, a businessman said.

Two Iranian students, who’ve lived here for four years, said they loved the energy and the passion that the City has for the game. “I don’t follow much of cricket but every time a player hits a six or four, I love the way the stadium comes alive,” said Maria, a student. And interestingly, it wasn’t Chris Gayle who they were cheering for. “We love Virat Kohli. He’s cute and plays really well. It was Chris’s day but we still get excited when Virat comes on the field,” added Mona, another student.

Anju Gupta brought her children— Bhaavika and Kanishk— to the stadium. “I am not a cricket person at all but IPL has brought women into the stadium. My children follow cricket very closely, so I thought I must bring them to the stadium to watch the game,” Anju said.  Arul and Shilpi, both employees of First Source, were happy that the RCB had scored the highest in IPL. “This is the highest score and Chris Gayle’s performance was unmatched,” Shilpi said. Arul pitched in, “I now work in London. I didn’t have much of an opinion about cricket. But the IPL has changed everything. The game is just as thrilling as the original cricket.”