After a tepid response to the opening game, Kolkata came out in support of the Knight Riders on Sunday night, filling more than 80% of the new 65,000-seater Eden Gardens to watch them take on the Rajasthan Royals.
They shouted and clapped, jumped up and down and created Mexican waves. Some near the boundary line matched steps with the cheergirls, gyrating to the KKR's theme song, while some missed the action to queue up for food and beverages.
Their enthusiasm was understandable. The Knight Riders had just won two matches in a row after choking in the opener against the Super Kings. For the fans of the team with the poorest record in the IPL that was enough reason to come to the ground filled with hope.
The slight to Sourav Ganguly, who went unsold at the players' auction, appeared to have been forgiven.
Feeding on the energy created by the crowd, the Knight Riders ran through the Royals' batting line-up after Gautam Gambhir elected to bowl keeping in mind the due factor. The Royals were routed for 81 in 15.2 overs, the third lowest total in the IPL.
The Knight Riders' fans chanted 'Bala, Bala' after Lakshmipathy Balaji bowled the perfect leg-cutter to bowl Shane Watson. Balaji finished with three for 15, Iqbal Abdulla and Yusuf Pathan picked up a wicket each and Manvinder Bisla pulled off a couple of smart stumpings.