Amid the sea of yellow t-shirts interspersed with islands of red ones, four children with more than a passing resemblance to each other kept arguing continuously. “My sister's kids have come here from Bangalore for the vacations. It is going to be a war at home tonight, as they support Bangalore while my children want Chennai to win,” said a visibly hassled Karthi who had brought them.
Karthi's children and thousands of jubilant fans, armed with banners and boards that spelt victory in ways more than one, clapping for every single run, and whistling hard at every ball that raced to the boundary cheered Chennai Super Kings all the way to a glorious win against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday.
The soaring heat in the city did not deter the spirit of the enthusiastic cricket fans who lined up in queues almost two hours before the match began. “It is a different experience watching a live match like this. The colour, the music, everything goes so awesomely well with the mood,” said Shardha Shankar.
Sandwiches, cold drinks and chips were in great demand as people with coolers and some with binoculars followed every ball of the game, even as little children clad in ‘robes' of yellow banners moved along the stadium carrying cut-outs of players and boards that said, “Dhoni, we love you and your haircut,” and “Peria whistle podu.”
An ardent supporter among them was the five-year old Prabhal Mukund who sported a yellow wig, yellow head band and wrist band and also a hand-drawn handlebar moustache, half of it smudged due to sweat. Many youngsters had stripes of yellow painted on their faces, even as others synchronised their whistles and dancing steps to thumping beats of Tamil numbers that were played in between the overs.
Scarce in number and yet making their presence felt among the CSK fans, were the RCB supporters, who cheered the loudest when Michael Hussey dropped Virat Kohli during the initial phase of the second innings, and screamed in applause when Saurabh Tiwary hit a six.
Comments like “200 should be good. We have a bad bowling side,” and “What is the use of giving so many fours in row only to get bowled out like this,” flowed freely expressing the excitement among the audience.
Fourteen year-old Jack Nitharvrianakis who is here for Easter vacations, won't speak to anyone while the match was on because he did not want to miss the reactions. “In England, people scream only when something major happens. Here everyone seems to be screaming all the time. It is so much fun,” he said. And when an excited mother who was waving at the fielders nudged her son, “You are a little boy. Wave at him, Dhoni will wave back.,” he snapped back, “No I wont, What if he drops a catch then.”
“Now that the World Cup has ended, I am here to watch cricketers like Dhoni and Kohli play. Favourites will emerge later,” said Vijay Jacob who had come from Bangalore.
“And yes, now that we belong to different places, we can so easily shift loyalties,” said Arjun Sekhar, a native of Chennai, studying in Bangalore now, flaunting his customised reversible t-shirt that was ample evidence of his fascination for both the teams.