Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) they have famously never won an IPL title despite consistently being able to field some of the most stellar lineups on the competition roster. Oscar Ress picks their five most heartbreaking IPL outings.
For many seasons the top tier of Royal Challengers Bangalore has been like a Who’s Who joke from T20. The likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers have all decorated their squad sheets, yet the Bengaluru team have never lifted the IPL trophy. They have built a reputation for coming close, often ranking very high in the IPL Bettingbut never crossing the finish line in first place.
They are a franchise that has now become synonymous with heartbreak – let’s take a look at RCB’s five biggest.
5. 2022 – RCB loses Qualifier 2 against Rajasthan Royals
Kohli had relinquished the captaincy and with Faf du Plessis now in charge, RCB appeared to have compiled the most balanced squad ever. They had a bowling attack containing Josh Hazlewood and Wanindu Hasaranga and the purple cap holder from the year before, at Harshal Patel.
With the bat, they had Dinesh Karthik fueled by a desire to play in the T20 World Cup hitting 183.33 and even with Kohli out of form, they qualified for the round of 16.
When Rajat Patidar took control of The Eliminator with magnificent 112 from 54 balls to defeat the Lucknow Super Giants it looked like an RCB title was finally bound to be. That was until they met the Rajasthan Royals and more specifically Jos Buttler who laughed in the face of RCB’s 157 and comfortably put him out with 106 not out.
4. 2015 – Lost in Qualifiers against Chennai Super Kings
This at first glance looks like just another RCB heartbreak. However, 2015 may have just seen their three biggest players at their combined peak. It also foreshadowed the following year when RCB made its most concerted headline.
The season was the best proof of their problem in years. De Villiers, Kohli and Gayle scored 513, 505 and 491 runs respectively and dominated run scoring. However, the fourth highest scorer was Mandeep Singh with just 157.
De Villiers stormed RCB through the Eliminator as he batted 66 of 38 to beat Rajasthan Royals by 71 runs. Heartbreak struck once again in the qualifiers as they lost with just one ball left to the Chennai Super Kings. The big shots made 54 runs between them and RCB stumbled to 139 before Michael Hussey’s half-century was enough to knock them out.
3. 2011 – Lost the final against Chennai Super Kings after finishing top of the table
2011 was a season dominated by Chris Gayle as he scored over 600 points, propelling his side to the top of the table before their hearts were broken twice against CSK in the knockout stages.
The team were heavy at bat, as was the RCB brand, which was highlighted by Gayle bowling her full share of overs in the final. He took two wickets but could do little as top tier CSK plundered 205, including 95 from Murali Vijay.
Gayle failed to build on his 89 in qualifying and was dismissed by Ashwin for a duck. The RCB subsided and savored their first ever IPL final defeat, a sign of what was to come.
2. 2020 – Five losses in a row to exit the competition
An IPL staged as the COVID pandemic raged. It was hosted outside India and featured an odd tournament from AB de Villiers, who averaged over 45 during the competition. The RCB was on fire, with Devdutt Padikkal emerging to ease the pressure on Kohli and de Villiers. With the ball, Washington Sundar starred with an economy of less than six times in a much improved offense.
This finally seemed to be their year, until they completely burned out. It was just another false dawn and they’ve lost their last five games. Whether it was bubble fatigue or something else, RCB couldn’t stand their shape. Five of their eight season losses have come in their last five games.
It all ended in defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad who chased down RCB’s 131 thanks to Kane Williamson’s signature calm.
1. 2016 – Lost in IPL final to Sunrisers Hyderabad
There was no other option for the worst heartbreak. According to Kohli, KL Rahul still captures highlights from the 2016 final and says he still hurts. Despite him failing to win the tournament, this IPL will forever be associated with Kohli, but his side came within eight runs of being crowned IPL champions.
During the season Kohli amassed 973 runs with four centuries and seven fifties – all tallies are records in any T20 competition. He was ably supported all season by de Villiers with 687 runs and Rahul with just under 400 runs.
RCB won the impossible in qualifying as de Villiers lead his side from 29-5 and then 68-6 to chase down 159 with an unbeaten 79. thanks first to David Warner’s 69 and then to Ben Cutting who batted 39 for 15 before removing Gayle and Rahul in pursuit.