Monday, February 18, 2013

Enjoying Saturday's Cricket Match

A South Africa batsman follows the ball he just hit

On Saturday we went to the third day of the 5-day test match between South Africa and Pakistan.  South Africa is #1 in the world, and Pakistan is #4.  There are 9 or 10 competitive cricket teams in the world.  If you don't already understand cricket, any attempt by us to explain it probably wouldn't help much.  Suffice it to say that it is similar to baseball, only slower.  But the atmosphere at the Newlands cricket ground was fantastic, and the weather was sunny and 80F.  Beer and wine cost $2 for a generous pour.

Pakistan’s Mohammad Irfan, who is 7 feet tall

We sat out in the grassy area behind the boundary.  We got the tickets for free by purchasing $3 worth of the sponsor's vegetable oil at the grocery store.  We enjoyed the game more than we would have if we had been in a fancy suite, as we had been at the England vs. Australia "Ashes" match in Melbourne in 1998.  It's hard to beat the view of nearby Table Mountain, and the crowd was relaxed, friendly and pretty energetic after a few beers.  It's a great way to get a suntan.

Our grassy area, with Table Mountain backdrop
The Wave is not dead in South Africa
Sarah has the South Africa spirit, and a free flag

There were several other factors that enhanced the ambiance at the game.  There are two 40-minute breaks between three 2-hour sessions each day, along with several short breaks.  During the first 40-minute break, the crowd is allowed to wander about the pitch, playing impromptu cricket games.  You are also allowed to bring your beverage with you.  We think every sport in the world would be more fun to watch if it allowed its fans to drink beer on the actual playing surface between periods.

Fans sport fake beards in honor of Hashim Amla, the best batsman

Youngster practicing his batting stroke between sessions

Fans with pink halos are not excluded from participating

There was also a special promotion that day.  Fans were invited to dress as their favorite superhero, or otherwise wear silly attire.  Many people took full advantage of this.  One guy in a jailbird outfit was getting married the following weekend, and was soliciting funds for his bachelor party.  We won't say exactly what for.  But we thought it was a worthy cause, considering his impending loss of freedom, and donated 30 rand (~$3).

Rainbow Hair guy from 80’s NFL games resurfaces in Cape Town

The Red-Horned Rhino Gang

The bachelor with his friends and beer collection cup

Oh, by the way, South Africa clinched victory in the test match near the end of the fourth day.  Robbie Peterson had a career best 84 runs in the first innings to lead the way.  Go Proteas!

1 comment:

  1. Been reading the blog, just not commenting. I'm so very impressed in your work. However, I find it hard to fathom the concept that a sport can be slower than baseball. Do they measure the height of the grass between the periods?