Cricket at Wankhede Stadium

May 11, 2014 at 21:34

Right on Marine Drive in Mumbai, you will find Wankhede Stadium, the home ground of the cricket team Mumbai Indians. They have had a struggle this season, and for last years winners of the Indian Premier League – IPL, two wins so far simply isn’t good enough. We felt in the depths of our stomachs that this statistic was about to change, as we hopped on the train at Vikrohli Station and headed for Churchgate. Andrea and I had just bought our Mumbai Indians jerseys, and we felt like real Mumbaikars when we boarded the train southwards with our two good friends. They had been nice enough to invite us to the game, and had arranged for tickets with some really good seats.

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On the local train

The trip landed at 10 rupees per person, which is around NOK 1. Affordable in other words. We luckily missed the big crowds, and as such had plenty of room in the car. We mostly stood soaking up some cooling wind by the always open doors on the Mumbai local train. I have to say, few things give the “real India feel” (from a firangs perspective) like taking the train around Mumbai. It is like everything you always pictured.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, cricket, right? We jumped off at Churgate, like I said, and walked back up Marine Drive to gate 4 of the Wankhede Stadium. We had tickets on the Sachin Tendulkar stand in the northern part of the stadium. If you don’t know who Sachin Tendulkar is, just know this: Mention his name to a Mumbaikar and you will summon the biggest smile you didn’t think possible. He is the greatest cricket player who ever lived – or as simply put by Indians: He is the God of cricket.

We got there early to avoid the big crowds, a strategy that panned out well, as we were close to the only ones on the stand when we arrived. After a few cold drinks and a bit of pizza, we we’re ready for the match. We got a good view of both the pitch and of the Chennai Super Kings cheerleaders – total entertainment, as our friend so aptly put it.

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The view

After some things I didn’t understand, it was decided that Mumbai would bat first. And so they did. We looked on in excitement as they struck fours and sixes like their life depended on it. The cheerleaders cheered for each one, a little less like their life depended on it. Chennai forced six outs during the half, in which they played 20 “overs”. An over is basically a segment of six balls being “bowled”. It will always be bowled by the same guy throwing. That means the first half is done after 120 balls are bowled or the defending team manages ten outs. An out can be achieved in several ways. Firstly, it can be made by bowling the ball past the batter and hitting the “wickets”, or three sticks lodged in the ground. It can also be made by catching the ball after a bat without the ball touching the ground first. Thirdly, it can be made by throwing the ball onto the wickets while the batter is making his “run”. One completed run – both batters cross to the opposite side – is one point. If the batter strikes the ball out of the field, he is awarded four points, and if he does so without the ball hitting the ground first, he receives six points.

That’s about it as to what I understand of cricket, which I guess isn’t too bad. Anyway, Mumbai batted first and hit an impressive 157 points in 120 balls. Unfortunately, even though the suspense filled the air in the stadium, Chennai managed to get more than that during their last over, and was crowned victors.

Although disappointed after the loss, there was really nothing that could take away from the incredible atmosphere at Wankhede. We even got on TV, so our fifteen minutes of fame are up. It’s funny, because I guess nearly ten million people saw us that night, and I’ve had people I haven’t even met come up to me and ask if it was me who was on TV during the match.

Us on the TV screen

Us on the TV screen

We concluded our trip to Wankhede with a stroll down Marine Drive and a cup of chai from a one-armed guy serving from the back of his bicycle.

You really got to love India.

Best regards, Marius