A home away from home for RCB

It was an away fixture for the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, but the doting fans made the visitor 'feel at home'.

The support slowly shifted to SRH in the dying moments of the game, but RCB had already emerged a winner in the hearts of Hyderabad fans.   -  K.V.S Giri

A loyal fan base is what every team yearns for and Royal Challengers Bangalore can be proud of its fans, thanks to its star performers Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

Security forces had a tough time controlling the clamouring crowd even as scores of fans, donning the orange jersey with the Sunrisers Hyderabad flag in hand, flocked the stadium hours before the contest got underway. Such was their vibrancy that one could hear them coming almost a kilometre away from the stadium.

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However, the venue, which was packed to the rafters, saw away fans dominate the proceedings. The cheers grew louder as players from both sides began warming up and soon, the support for RCB came through loud and clear.

The DJ at the ground made a desperate attempt to 'divert' the crowd's allegiance but to no avail. The fans remained gobsmacked as they watched Virat Kohli and de Villiers from a close distance.

And for the first hour, the visitor didn't disappoint. de Villiers may have failed with the bat, but Kohli left the spectators impressed with some eye-catching shots. He made his intent clear by lashing the second delivery of th fourth over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a glorious cover-drive, a shot that sent the fans into a trance.

The stylish right-hander met a back of a length delivery with the full face of his bat - a perfect blend of technique and execution - and was greeted with a thunderous applause which only died down following Kohli's dismissal in the 10th over.

Shravya, a software professional who had bunked work to watch the match, said a cheat day is permitted once a year when RCB plays in Hyderabad. "I am a true-blue Hyderabadi at heart but when Kohli and de Villiers play, it has to be RCB," she said.

For Praveen, who works in the education sector, it was a matter of heart and head. "My head says SRH but my heart beats for RCB. I am going to be neutral tonight. I will cheer for every run scored and every wicket that falls. That way I can show my loyalty to both the teams," he said.

The support slowly shifted to SRH in the dying moments of the game, but RCB had already emerged a winner in the hearts of Hyderabad fans.