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Home advantage or sheer hard work?

india Updated: May 08, 2012 00:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Gautam Gambhir

Spare a thought for Gautam Gambhir. Two days ago, he took pains to tell everyone how the Kolkata Knight Riders were the real home team and deserved all support from the fans, screaming for their own Sourav Ganguly and his Pune Warriors.

On Monday in the Capital, the feisty player knew he was on his home ground, but still not quite. This time, he had to contend with the aura of his friend and senior, Virender Sehwag.

Gambhir had said he wasn't expecting much support on home turf, but the early indifference from the packed Ferozshah Kotla must still have hurt.

SRK's fanbase
The only person wearing KKR's purple shirt in the crowd was its co-owner Shah Rukh Khan. Every time his smiling face was flashed on the giant screen, the crowd briefly switched loyalties only to get behind their team again.

"The KKR have more Delhi players in their playing XI but our team is Delhi Daredevils and we are here to support it," said a group of youngsters, cheering every single run the Daredevils scored.

But it is such situations that bring out the fighter in Gambhir. If he was all charged up to win against the Pune Warriors at the Eden, he was no different here. Quite animated, he constantly gestured to his fielders and moved them around. He gave Australian opener David Warner a mouthful after Jacques Kallis got him with a smart off-break.

He also got under the skin of the usually cool Mahela Jayawardene after a big appeal for caught behind was turned down. When he provoked the Sri Lanka skipper into responding, the fans sided with their team.

Gambhir finally saw his back with a run out, pumping his fist as he lay on the Kotla turf. But there is one way of weaning away Indian fans anywhere, and that is by hitting sixes and fours.