While people tout the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as the most successful team in the history of the IPL, one shouldn’t forget that the Royal Challengers Bangalore were second in line during the formative years. Though they are yet to win the coveted trophy, RCB made the semifinals in three of the first four IPL seasons.
RCB finished runners-up twice in 2009 and 2011, two of their best seasons in IPL history. While they ended just 6 runs short of eventual winners Deccan Chargers in 2009 under Anil Kumble's captaincy, Daniel Vettori’s RCB were handed a 6-wicket defeat by CSK in the IPL 2011 final.
Interestingly, current RCB captain Virat Kohli was the highest scorer for his side in the 2011 final, scoring an unbeaten 44-ball 70 to propel RCB to 175/4. However, Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 50-ball 73 and a cameo from Albie Morkel (10-ball 28*) guided CSK to their second successive IPL trophy.
In fact, RCB would have made three consecutive finals, if not for Sachin Tendulkar’s Mumbai Indians eviscerating them by 35 runs in the IPL 2010 semifinal.
However, what started as a promising journey soon ran out of steam as the team from the ‘Garden City of India’ seemed lost in the park. RCB failed to make the playoffs from 2012 to 2014, before they yet again made the cut for two consecutive seasons.
RCB have had a tendency of crossing paths with CSK in the business end of the season, and more often than not, MS Dhoni’s men have got better of them. IPL 2015 was no different as the ‘Men in Yellow’ got past RCB by three wickets with just a ball remaining in Qualifier 2.
Nonetheless, RCB had their best ever season in IPL 2016 in which Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers looked unstoppable to almost bring them their first title. While Kohli scored a record 973 runs in just 16 matches and hit the most number of sixes (38), de Villiers racked up 687 runs at an average of 52.84 with 37 maximums to his name.
RCB hadn't put a foot wrong all season until they faced the SunRisers Hyderabad in the final, where they came close to capping off a dream season with a win before eventually falling short by a meagre 8-run margin.
A bid to win that elusive trophy went haywire thereafter as Virat Kohli and Co. couldn’t finish above 6th position in the following three years, including finishing last in 2017 and 2019.
RCB are on the verge of making the IPL 2020 playoffs
RCB might have lost their previous two games, but they still occupy second position in the points table and are well on course to earning their first playoffs berth in four years. Virat Kohli’s side are two points behind table-toppers Mumbai Indians, having won 7 of the 12 games played.
The most striking aspect for RCB this season has been their collective effort, and that individual performances are not the sole contributor to their current standing. While skipper Virat Kohli and 21-year-old Devdutt Padikkal have each scored 400-plus runs, Yuzvendra Chahal is two wickets away from being one among the top three wicket-takers in IPL 2020.
The 'Bangalore Boys' play sixth-placed SRH on Saturday (October 31) before wrapping up their league stage against the Delhi Capitals – in what could be a virtual eliminator – on November 2.Published 29 Oct 2020, 17:19 IST