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KKR chants rule neutral ground

Adwitiya Banerjee at Chinnaswamy

Eight-year-old Adwitiya Banerjee wasn’t sure whom she would shout for more — KKR or SRK.

The Class IV student of La Martiniere for Girls shouted the Knights to victory from the members’ gallery of Chinnaswamy stadium. “We won the match. SRK waved at us and also did a saalam. I am so excited,” the little girl said.

A Kay… Kay… Rrrr roar reverberated across the ground. Not a patch on Eden’s decibel level but Chinnaswamy hadn’t heard it before. And even during the presentation ceremony the stands were as packed as they were during the match.

Fireworks and the deafening decibels of KKR chants made it hard to believe that it was a neutral ground.

For former Calcuttan Chester Twigg, who had flown down from Singapore to watch the final with son Matthew, the journey of 3,000 kilometre was worth every bit.

“It’s great coming for the final after staying awake for the late night matches in Singapore. Matthew and I are in no mood to leave despite having a flight at 9.45 in the morning tomorrow. There is so much action here and we are just chanting KKR KKR,” said the executive from Procter and Gamble, who was sitting a few rows from the Kings XI Punjab supporters.

“The sights and sounds are terrific. Fireworks and cheering... strangers are hugging each other,” he added.

The tension gave way to triumph and the heady thrill of winning a match.

About 15 of them in the M1 at the clubhouse clapped and cheered when Yusuf Pathan charged down with two consecutive sixes in the ninth over.

The mood was sombre the moments before when Gambhir got out, with the Punjab gang rising up to cheer.

In the red empire it was raw lungpower that continued but the Calcuttans in Chinnaswamy didn’t let their spirit fall and ultimately helped lift the cup for KKR.

“I am just too thrilled at the win. The match was slipping,” said Matthew, a Class IV student who missed two school days to witness the final.

It were these little spirited beings who had not let the spirit flag even when it seemed at one point that KKR might not lift the cup.

Even when Maxwell was sent packing at the 18th over, Adwitiya with a spontaneous uhhuuu kissed and hugged mother Meghna.

At least three Calcuttans in the members’ stand were crying their lungs out as grey-haired men were silently clapping. “It’s a nail-biting match. I just hope Manish Pandey sticks till the end,” Twigg told his son in the 16th over.

His favourite Sunil Narine had given him a reason to rejoice in his first over where he got the Kings XI Punjab captain Bailey out but it didn’t last long.

The heart beat rose and fell in many Calcutta corners as it did in the Chinnaswamy stands as Bailey dropped Manish Pandey.

When Gambhir nicked one but the ball fell safe, there was a sigh of relief in the Calcutta corner. “Perhaps it was our sigh that led the catch to be dropped,” said a man in the purple corner.

The initial euphoria of the KKR fans had died down.

The mood in the purple patches was sombre after the first half when Kings XI Punjab set the KKR a target of 200.

“KKR had started off well and they also finished in style. Our cheers counted,” said Meghna Banerjee, who was on a holiday in Bangalore and the first thing she did was bag a ticket to the final once KKR made it.

“Towards the end I was almost broken-hearted and lost hope. But in the end I was ecstatic and I screamed and waved with my eight-year-old daughter. I am so glad that I came for the match,” said Meghna, who was in two minds initially but was determined to go to the stadium when KKR reached the finals.