From Rahul Dravids to Virat Kohlis, from Rey Jennings to Gary Kirstens, from Midlands of South Africa to Proper Indian summers, that Silverware moment still continues to elude RCB. And not that they are far from it, every year their team would be in prime contenders list before the start of the season. Whole Bengaluru would be painted Red on match days, but still, that feeling of disappointment would not be far fetched as the season comes closer to its twilight.
2009: An Early Hope in South Africa
So how close can RCB be to that champagne moment? In 2009 when IPL was hosted by Rainbow nation due to General Elections in India, RCB, under the leadership of Anil Kumble, were the Runners up against Gilchrist's Deccan Chargers. Young Virat Kohli was a disappointment but his U19 India teammate, Manish Pandey became the first Indian to hit a ton in IPL at Centurian (Ironically!).
Big Billion buy Kevin Pietersen was available for most of the season but failed to make an impression as was expected from him. Praveen Kumar and Kallis were among standout players for RCB with the help of some domestic talents. RCB chased down a rather modest total from CSK in the semifinal to setup Final clash with Deccan Chargers. Chasing 144 to win in final, RCB never got going under championship pressure. They also left Robin Uthappa little too late in a chase like that. Deccan lifted the title comfortably at the Wanderers.
2011: Jamaican Talisman Came to the Fore
Two Years later, RCB again came close in 2011 at Chennai. RCB somehow found their Talisman from Islands of Jamaica, when Christopher Henry Gayle had no Takers at Auction, RCB brought him in for replacement for Dirk Nannes. And their whole dimensions changed right from his first game at Eden Gardens. Gayle had blitzkrieg of a season and RCB never looked back till the Playoffs. Remember, it was the first time when IPL was being played with Playoffs format. In the first Qualifier, CSK almost snatched qualification from RCB with the help of late assault from Albie Morkel. Although, RCB qualified thanks to the second bite of cherry against MI.
In the big final at Chepauk, Murali Vijay and Hussey literally batted RCB out of the final. Chasing a massive target, RCB's hopes were on strong shoulders of Gayle but CSK had a game plan even for that threat. Gayle was caught off guard against Ashwin in first over of the chase. The game was all but over.
2016: Virat Kohli's Indian Summer
But RCB had better chances of all in 2016, they played their best Cricket during that season. Riding on Virat Kohli's unbelievable season with the bat, they were 2nd on the points table after Gujarat Lions. This is one of those displays, where one batsman can win you a Championship, and he almost did. He scored 973 runs in a single season with SR close to 150 and 4 tons. Those were Bradman like numbers in T20.
RCB juggernaut came calling in First Qualifier. They were in deep trouble chasing against Lions on a tricky surface at Chinnaswamy. This was a time when AB De Villiers stepped up to the plate and produced a masterclass for ages.
This is still one of the best heists that RCB has pulled off till date. Sunrisers Hyderabad set up the finale with RCB on the back of 2 wins in knockouts. SRH was being driven by a certain David Warner, who himself was having a season of his lifetime. As good as Kohli was, Warner was in the touching distance if that signifies the brilliance he was carrying SRH with. Kohli and ABD were denied by quality SRH bowling and SRH lifted their maiden IPL trophy in front of devastated Bengaluru crowd.
Will RCB fourth time lucky this season? They need to fill some holes before that in Auction. They have the genius of Mike Hesson ringing the bells. Glaring requirements for them again this season would be overseas Fast bowlers and back up domestic batsmen for the lower middle order. Is Hesson the answer to missing puzzle of RCB and help them to glory in IPL 2020? We may have a lot of these answers on 19th evening in Kolkata.
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