The Royal Challengers Bangalore have historically been one of the most popular franchises in the Indian Premier League since it’s inception. The fact that India’s original bad boy Vijay Mallya owned the team ensured it will always be one of the most glamorous and hyped up franchise in the league.
Despite the hype, however, RCB are one of only 3 teams that have never won the IPL title. The title has eluded them despite multiple attempts in the final, rather disappointingly. So let’s take a look at this franchise in detail and rate their chances of success in the ongoing season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Franchise History
Royal Challengers Bangalore are one of the original franchises of the IPL, active since the very first day of the league. They were also part of the first ever IPL match, against the Kolkata Knight Riders, under the lights, at the Chinaswamy Stadium on 18th April 2008.
A star-studded affair, RCB were expected to win the first-ever match in IPL history, however KKR opener Brendon McCullum had other ideas. McCullum proceeded to indulge in the sort of big hitting the Indian crowds had never seen before. Shattering several records on the night, McCullum ended the night with a mammoth score of 158* off just 73 balls, wowing everyone in attendance and introducing the IPL to the world in style. He rained an unbelievable 13 sixes, instantly earning legendary status. His team comfortably won that match by a huge margin. This opening day defeat set RCB up for a disappointing first season.
The Royal Challengers have seen some of the greatest players in IPL history play for them over the years. In the inaugural season, RCB selected local boy Rahul Dravid as their icon player. In the first ever auction, they acquired many local as well as international talents such as Jaques Kallis, Anil Kumble, Cameron White, Dale Steyn and Mark Boucher. One of the most important signings they made was that of then India Under 19 captain Virat Kohli, who never left the franchise from there on and is a certified legend and current captain of the side, 12 years later. RCB endured a horrible first season, winning only 4 out of 14 matches and finished in 7th place.
In their second season, RCB started their traditional policy of signing the most high-profile players available in the auctions, signing England superstar Kevin Pietersen for a then-record sum. They also signed Uthappa and Manish Pandey, both of whom would turn out to be very influential. Anil Kumble took over the captaincy mid-way, and led them all the way to the final, where he took 4 wickets to restrict Deccan Chargers (now Sunrisers Hyderabad), to a modest total. However, RCB had a disappointing batting collapse and failed to chase down a target of 143, eventually missing out by 6 runs. The following season, RCB again managed to qualify for the play-offs, with 7 wins in 14 matches, but endured heartache in the semifinals, and eventually managed to finish 3rd.
The 2011 IPL auction was a real game-changer for the Royal Challengers, as they released their entire squad, retaining only the impressive Virat Kohli, and went for a complete revamp. They bought very aggressively, with Daniel Vettori and Zaheer Khan spearheading their new look bowling attack, while the legendary AB Devilliers and T.Dilshan were the new faces of an impressive batting line-up.
They also managed to sign the previously unsold Chris Gayle as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes midway through the season, to start the era of sheer dominance with the most feared trio in world cricket – Gayle-Kohli-ABD. This led to RCB being the most dominant side in the league, as they embarked on a record 7 game winning run, and made it to the final, with Chris Gayle scoring 2 stunning centuries laden with dozens of sixes, and performing at a high level throughout the season. In the final, however, it was heartbreak again as RCB lost to CSK at the final hurdle, to finish in 2nd place for the 2nd time in 3 seasons. Gayle was adjudged as the Man Of The Tournament.
RCB became one of the most talked about sides in the tournament for the sheer talent at their disposal. With Dilshan and Gayle opening the innings, followed by Kohli and ABD in the middle-order. Even the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan joined them to create a formidable cricket side, however, the title still eluded them, to everyone’s bafflement. They continued to buy big over the years, with players such as Albie Morkel, Mitchell Starc and even Yuvraj Singh, purchased for a record sum of 14 crores, to enhance their reputation as one of the strongest sides in the league.
After 3 disappointing seasons between 2012-2014, where they did not qualify for the play-offs, they had a bit of a resurgence, as they finished 3rd in 2015. The 2016 IPL season was RCB’s strongest season so far, with the likes of Shane Watson and KL Rahul joining the squad to improve an already impressive batting line-up. Kohi had his best ever season, as he plundered 900+ runs, a record for a single season, as RCB dominated their way for a 3rd final in 7 years. However, they again fell agonizingly short, as they lost by 8 runs to a David Warner inspired Sunrisers Hyderabad side, ending 3rd time unlucky.
That defeat left the squad deflated, as they simply couldn’t pick themselves up after that. In the last 3 seasons, they have finished bottom of the league twice, and once finished in 6th place, extremely disappointing for a side still containing some of the best players in the world. RCB have had terrible luck in the IPL over the years, and many still find it hard to believe that they have never won the league. With the squad they have, they are the bookmakers’ favourites every single season to win the title, yet fail when it comes to the business end of the season.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise was purchased by tycoon Vijay Mallya for a sum of $111.6 million, back in 2008. This made it the second-most expensive franchise, after the Mumbai Indians. Mallya and his son Sidharth, ensured that there was always a glamorous touch associated with the franchise, as they invited many of their high-profile celebrity friends to matches. It was all smooth sailing till 2016, when Vijay Mallya got embroiled in the infamous financial scandal, and had to be replaced by Amrit Thomas as the chairman.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Legends And Records
The Royal Challengers have had some of the best players to have graced this league over the years.
Virat Kohli is the franchise’s highest run scorer with 5427 runs in 155 innings between 2008 and 2020. His batting average is 38.35 and he has struck 34 half-centuries and 5 centuries, at a strike rate of over 130. He is also the longest-serving captain of the team, with a 48% success rate, winning 44 of the 96 matches played.
AB Devilliers is another RCB legend who is the 2nd highest scorer for them, with 3282 runs in 103 innings, while Chris Gayle hammered 3163 runs in just 84 innings at an alarming average of 43.32, aided by 5 centuries.
Yuzvendra Chahal is RCB’s highest wicket-taker, with 82 wickets in 68 innings, and he continues to bamboozle batsmen with his variations even now, making him one of the most difficult bowlers to face.
Apart from these players, many other legends of the game such as Kallis, Steyn, Kumble, Dravid, Starc , Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan also turned out for this franchise at some point.