Royal Challengers Bangalore was bought in the 2008 IPL team auction for a whopping $111.6 million by the UB Group, owned by the most flamboyant businessman in the country of India, Dr. Vijay Mallya. This bid made Bangalore the second most expensive franchise of the Indian Premier League until the year 2010, when the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala was bought for almost three times this price.
Its home ground is the famous M Chinnaswamy Stadium in India which has hosted some classic international matches over the years and is the home ground of several legendary Indian cricketers. It boasts of one of the finest pitches in India as well as top-class facilities. And since Mallya resides in the city of Bangalore, he thought that making it his franchise was a feasible idea. Its current CEO is one of the greats of Karnataka cricket, Brijesh Patel and its chairman is the younger Mallya, Siddhartha Mallya.
In the player auction though, Royal Challengers Bangalore seemed to be the weakest of all the eight teams chosen to play the competition. It is because they picked players such as Jacques Kallis of South Africa who is without doubt one of the top-quality allrounders in world cricket, but in those days he did not possess the skills required to play T20 cricket. He was ironically their most expensive foreign player for the first three years.
Amongst the overseas players, they picked another South African oldie Mark Boucher and pacer Dale Steyn as well as the Australian duo of batsman Cameron White and fast bowler Ashley Noffke, West Indies’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pakistan’s current skipper Misbah ul Haq and Bangladesh’s spinner Abdur Razzak. While the Indian contingent consisted mostly of local boys such as Bharat Chipli, J Arunkumar, Balachandra Akhil, K Appanna, Sunil Joshi, R Vinay Kumar who is the current Indian pace sensation and not to mention, Anil Kumble. The other prominent two Indian players not belonging to the state of Karnataka were the 2008 U-19 World Cup winning captain and now India’s future Virat Kohli and Bengal’s wicket-keeper batsman Shreevats Goswami.
It seemed like a Test team which was on the verge of participating in a T20 tournament, as another classical Test player and another man from Bangalore, i.e. Rahul Dravid was declared the captain and the icon player of the team. Only a brave lad would put his money in seeing Bangalore to be successful in the first season of the IPL, although the opening match of the tournament was to held at the Chinnaswamy Stadium itself and the team was to entertain by inviting cheerleaders from the USA and actresses Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone named as the brand ambassadors of the team.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2008 – 7th position
A spectacular opening ceremony was succeeded by a match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders. And right from the toss, the match belonged to Sourav Ganguly and co. or more precisely the New Zealand wicketkeeper batsman and explosive opener Brendon McCullum. The first 20 overs of the match saw more fireworks than before as McCullum stole the limelight with a flurry of fours and sixes raining at the Chinnaswamy. His 73-ball unbeaten 158 included 10 fours and 13 sixes, and was such a thunderous performance that even Bangalore’s supporters were cheering for the opposition. It was not however, pleasing for Rahul Dravid and the other 10 players on the field who were jaded by the time the innings came to a closure, needing a colossal 223 runs to win the game.
A crushing 140-run defeat gave birth to several questions about the team composition and strategies. They did restore their pride to an extent by defeating the Mumbai Indians in the next match at the Wankhede Stadium in India, by 5 wickets which was a crucial away victory. Mark Boucher, the wicketkeeper batsman was named man of the match for his crucial cameo of 39 not out off 19 balls to guide the team home in the last over.
But what followed was a hat-trick of defeats. They suffered consecutive losses at home to the Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets as well to their southern rivals Chennai Super Kings by 13 runs. And an away loss to the Delhi Daredevils was to be seen, by 10 runs falling short in the chase of 191. However, this streak was broken with a win against the equally out of sorts Deccan Chargers at home, in a thriller of a contest. Thanks to Praveen Kumar’s spell of 3/23 in 4 overs, Bangalore won by a narrow 3 run margin, defending 156 runs.
However, that celebration was short-lived and it gave rise to another losing run for the team. In a span of one week, Kings XI Punjab defeated them twice after chasing successfully in both the matches. They were also at the receiving end of Sourav Ganguly’s all-round performance, as Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a 5 run defeat in Kolkata. The team received a proper thumping in Jaipur by 65 runs in the hands of Rajasthan Royals and lost by 5 wickets at home to the Delhi Daredevils, although Shreevats Goswami won the man of the match award for his 42-ball 52.
It seemed like Bangalore would finish last in the competition, until they won in Chennai by 14 runs against the Chennai Super Kings as Anil Kumble for the first time, contributed largely in his team’s victory, picking 3/13 in 4 overs. Whereas, they also pulled off a consolation win against the Deccan Chargers at home, by 5 wickets with the young R Vinay Kumar showing his talent to the world with a spell of 3/27 in 4 overs.
However, the team ended the tournament in the same manner as they started it. They were walloped by 9 wickets at home by the Mumbai Indians. Overall, the Royal Challengers Bangalore finished at a miserable 7th position with only 4 wins in 14 matches, only bettering the performance of Deccan Chargers, whom they beat twice in the IPL that year.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2009 – 2nd position
The Royal Challengers Bangalore first came into the headlines in 2009 following the IPL auction. They managed to purchase the brash English batsman Kevin Pietersen for a then record $1.5 million, and a few days later he was named captain of the team replacing the ‘home’ favourite Rahul Dravid. Alongside Pietersen, New Zealand’s aggressive opener Jesse Ryder was bought for a mere $100,000. On the other hand, they swapped one of their top fast bowlers Zaheer Khan for local boy Robin Uthappa with the Mumbai Indians and acquired the Indian duo of Manish Pandey and Pankaj Singh, which ensured that their domestic bench strength was increased.
They began their campaign in South Africa against the defending champions, Rajasthan Royals in Newlands, Cape Town. This time, the Royal Challengers Bangalore began well with a convincing 75 run victory largely due to Rahul Dravid’s 48-ball 66 which proved that he was no mut with the bat in T20 cricket and was not upset at losing the captaincy to Pietersen.
However, in the next two matches they were thoroughly outplayed by last year’s finalists Chennai Super Kings by 92 runs at Port Elizabeth as well as by a much positive Deccan Chargers outfit by 24 runs on their return to Cape Town. Although chasing targets did not work, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were no heroes batting first either in the following two games. Kings XI Punjab beat them in Durban by 7 wickets and Delhi Daredevils won by 6 wickets at Port Elizabeth, as Kevin Pietersen unsuccessfully attempted to play the switch-hit off the bowling off Daniel Vettori.
It looked as if this season was to be a repeat of 2008 until the four match losing streak was arrested with a last over win against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Durban which again saw Boucher finishing the game off for the team in style. But Pietersen had to fly back to England for a Test series against the West Indies, and that gave Anil Kumble the responsibility to lead the team. As it turned out, KP’s exit was a blessing in disguise for the struggling team as Kumble’s leadership had more vigour and inspired the players even more to perform to their maximum potential.
Kings XI Punjab were beaten in the second game between them at Durban by 8 runs, as Bangalore resisted Yuvraj Singh’s hat-trick. Mumbai Indians were the next in line, as the Kumble-led team thrashed them by 9 wickets in Johannesburg as Jacques Kallis for the first time proved that he was worth $USD 900,000 with an economical bowling spell of 0/23 in 4 overs and a composed knock of 69 runs off 59 balls, remaining unbeaten to guide the team to the victory post.
They did suffer a minor setback as Mumbai Indians took their revenge at Port Elizabeth with a 16 run win and so did the Rajasthan Royals, with a 7 wicket win at Centurion. But then the team began its turnaround to survive in the competition. Bangalore came from behind to win against Kolkata by 6 wickets, as Ross Taylor played one of the finest innings in IPL cricket, a 33-ball 81 not out which won his team the game in the last over once again. The team went on to comprehensively beat the Chennai Super Kings by 7 wickets in Durban, as Taylor continued to play extremely well, this time with a controlled innings of 46, taking 50 balls to get there.
By the same margin, Royal Challengers Bangalore were able to get the better of a powerful Delhi Daredevils team as Kallis impressed with another all-round performance, scoring his second fifty and being man of the match again. But in the next game, history was created. An unknown name, Manish Pandey opened the batting for the side and became the first Indian to hit a century in the Indian Premier League. His 114 not out off just 73 balls was enough to traumatize the Deccan Chargers, as Bangalore won by 12 runs and the victory was a huge morale booster for the team with the semifinals not too far away.
Bangalore, out of nowhere made it to the last four as they finished third on the points table. They had a stiff task in facing MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the semifinal in Johannesburg. Chennai batted first after winning the toss and hit a modest 146 in 20 overs. Bangalore however chased down the target with 7 balls to spare, as Pandey’s merry times continued with a 35-ball 48. It handed the team a 6 wicket victory and a place in the final against the Deccan Chargers.
What a turnaround it was! Both the teams that finished 7th and 8th respectively last team were to finish 1st and 2nd this season, as they clashed in the final at the Bull Ring in Johannesburg. Anil Kumble won the toss and courageously chose to field first in what was to be a nerve-wrecking match. He was able to get rid of his counterpart, Adam Gilchrist in the first over of the match itself and finished with figures of 4/16 in 4 overs, which is a terrific bowling spell in a T20 final. But as captain, he had to painfully watch Herschelle Gibbs and Andrew Symonds blast away runs, with Symonds getting several lives due to sloppy fielding of the team.
In the end, Royal Challengers Bangalore fell short by 6 runs in what was another glorious IPL final. One team had to lose on the day and unfortunately it was Bangalore. But the team walked away from the tournament with its heads held high, as they finished second in the competition with an overall record of 9 wins in 16 matches. Unlike the last season, where Rahul Dravid, the captain was the last man standing and the team had to rely on individual performances. This was now a renewed ‘team’, who were on the verge of being masters of the tricks of the T20 trade.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Champions League T20 2009
Due to their outstanding outing in the IPL that year, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were eligible to play in the inaugural Champions League T20 tournament in India. They were grouped alongside South Africa’s champions Cape Cobras and New Zealand’s champions Otago, making it the ‘Group of Death’ in the competition.
They were outsmarted by a master class of a ton from JP Duminy in the very first match of the competition in Bangalore, as Cape Cobras chased down a target of 185 in the last over. But the team came back strongly to beat Otago, so that they qualified for the quarterfinal round. Due to their mixed performance, they were grouped with IPL rivals Delhi Daredevils and Victoria Bushrangers.
They managed to beat a much stronger Delhi team at home, in a match which attracted maximum crowds at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and reminded many of a Chelsea vs. Liverpool Champions League match in a game of football, since Delhi was in a blue jersey and Bangalore was sporting the red jersey. However, a loss to the Australian side Victoria Bushrangers ended their dream of winning the Champions League tournament since they lost 2 games and won 2 games, which was inadequate for them to qualify for the semifinals.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2010 – 3rd position
The only major addition in the team’s squad was England’s emerging batsman, Eoin Morgan who was picked for $220,000. Everything else remained the same as the team began the third season of the IPL back in India, with the hope that they could go one step further from last year and win the competition. But the team had to prove that they can be equally impressive in Indian conditions as well, since they finished 7th in 2008.
Their first match once again, was against the Kolkata Knight Riders but in Kolkata. The team however, looked woefully out of touch with a 7 wicket loss to Sourav Ganguly’s men as this Kolkata side was playing in familiar conditions and so they had the capability of chasing a target of 136. This was a huge wakeup call for Anil Kumble and co. who were not going to have it easy this time around, as oppositions have become more aware in playing better T20 cricket.
The next match saw the real Royal Challengers Bangalore playing as they chased down a target of above 200 on a placid Chinnaswamy wicket as Jacques Kallis showed the way to bat with his unbeaten 55-ball 89, opening the batting for the team. Kings XI Punjab were hammered by 8 wickets. Kallis went on to register a hat-trick of man of the match awards in his name as his contributions with both bat and ball were instrumental in the team overcoming challenges from the Rajasthan Royals at home and Mumbai Indians in Mumbai. He was not out in both the matches till the very end. However, he was dismissed finally, in a match against the Chennai Super Kings but Robin Uthappa stole the show with his 68 not out off just 38 balls to hand Royal Challengers Bangalore another home victory, by a 36-run margin.
But just as many teams in that year’s IPL, Bangalore too suffered from a disease called ‘inconsistency’. They were on the receiving end of the rookie Kedar Jadhav’s fifty which made the Delhi Daredevils win in Bangalore by 17 runs. Whereas, the Chennai Super Kings hit back at home with a 5-wicket win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. But the team welcomed back an in-form Kevin Pietersen, who made his first major contribution in the red colours of Bangalore. Not captain anymore, he seemed to bat much more freely as his unbeaten 66 off 44 balls batting at No.3 helped the team beat Kings XI Punjab in Mohali by 6 wickets.
Although Pietersen’s grand entry into the team was good news, it did not motivate them as much as they suffered back-to-back defeats in the hands of Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi and the Deccan Chargers at home, despite scoring a total of above 180 in 20 overs. They were able to pull things back to an extent with a tit for tat 7 wicket victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders at home, with Vinay Kumar bowling a fine spell of 3/23 in 4 overs.
Deccan Chargers got the better of them yet again with a 13 run win in Nagpur but Kevin Pietersen won another man of the match award with a fiery knock of 62 off 29 balls, to help the team beat the Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur by 5 wickets. They ended the round-robin stage in a sordid fashion with a crushing defeat to the Mumbai Indians at home by 57 runs, but somehow managed to make it to the semifinals for the second consecutive year in a row with a higher net run rate in comparison to teams such as Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Their semifinal was against the No.1 team on the points table, Mumbai Indians in Navi Mumbai after they had to suffer from some bad news that Bangalore was not that safe a city to host the match following a minor bomb blast outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was as good as transferring the home advantage to Mumbai Indians and they could post a 35-run win to enter the final, which meant that Bangalore could not contest another final for atleast the next 12 months.
But the tournament was not over for them. They had to face Deccan Chargers for the 3rd and 4th place playoffs and the team took their ‘revenge’ of the defeat in the last year’s final, winning by 9 wickets as they chased a total of 82 with ease and in the process finishing 3rd in the competition, with a winning percentage of 50% in 16 matches.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Champions League T20 2010
With their semifinal appearance in the IPL 2010, Royal Challengers Bangalore qualified for the Champions League T20 in South Africa yet again, alongside the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians from the IPL. This time though, the group stages were to be longer as Bangalore were pooled with Mumbai, West Indies’ champions Guyana, Australia’s champions South Australia Redbacks and South Africa’s second best team Highveld Lions.
They started off their campaign successfully with a comprehensive win against Guyana, but thrashed by the Redbacks in the next game. That seemed to peg back the team to an extent as they lost a won game against the Mumbai Indians, by 2 runs in a match which generated huge hype since it had two of India’s best three teams playing in it. But the team kept their pride intact with a huge victory against the Lions, which increased their net run rate and assisted them in qualifying for the last four.
But the Royal Challengers had to overcome yet another IPL rival and the champions that year, Chennai Super Kings to make it to the final. That day, Durban was riddled with rain, so the match was reduced to 17 overs. Nothing went right for Bangalore, as the weather gods played Judas in their pursuit of winning the game and the likes of Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn suffered injuries during the course of the match. Chennai won by 51 runs eventually and Bangalore’s hopes of winning atleast one T20 title were thrown in the dumps once again. It was ideal revenge for Chennai who were incidentally beaten by Bangalore in the 2009 IPL semifinal, although that match was in Johannesburg.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2011 – 2nd position
2011 was the year where teams were to be reshuffled, but they had the option of retaining four players from the last three seasons. Surprisingly, the Royal Challengers decided to retain only one player, Virat Kohli despite the team’s good showings in the last two years. Anil Kumble was not bid for and was instead made the mentor of the team. The Bangalore roster was revamped completely as world class international T20 players such as New Zealand’s ex captain and legendary spinner Daniel Vettori, Sri Lanka’s dashing opener Tillakratne Dilshan, South Africa’s versatile batsman AB de Villiers, Australian duo of Victorian pacer Dirk Nannes and Western Australian batsman Luke Pomersbach as well as South African quickie Charl Langeveldt.
Amongst the Indian players, after Kohli the most expensive player in the auction was Saurabh Tiwary who was picked for $USD 1.6 million, since he had an excellent outing with the Mumbai Indians a year ago. Zaheer Khan was welcomed back into the team at a price of $USD 900,000. However, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammad Kaif and Abhimanyu Mithun were surprise picks in the team and it remained to be seen whether this team could challenge the other nine teams which seemed much stronger than them.
Daniel Vettori was declared captain of the side, for his respectable image and experience of captaining a national team. He led the team with much success in their very first match of the tournament, against the new Kochi Tuskers Kerala team in Kochi, as AB de Villiers took the honours away with an unbeaten 54 off just 40 balls in assisting the team registering a 6 wicket win.
But then the wheels came off with three consecutive defeats. Mumbai Indians continued their unbeaten streak in Bangalore in the history of the IPL, winning by 9 wickets as the team’s bowling came under severe scrutiny in the match. While the Deccan Chargers posted their first even win in Hyderabad, defeating the Royal Challengers by 33 runs although this time it was the batting which was under par. Followed by which, the Chennai Super Kings won at home by 21 runs as they got away with Bangalore’s poor fielding throughout the game.
The match against Rajasthan Royals at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was washed out and although that made their chances of making it to the last four much slimmer, it gave them an opportunity to relax and contemplate about how to return to winning ways. Fortunately, the team management did not have to think much because of the sudden arrival of West Indies opener Chris Gayle, who had a lot to prove following he being snubbed in the IPL auction and his ever-growing tiff with the West Indies Cricket Board.
If the history of mankind is divided into BC and AD, then the history of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2011 could be divided into BG (Before Gayle) and AG (After Gayle). A team languishing at the bottom of the points table suddenly made people believe that they can defeat any team in the competition, following a thumping 9 wicket victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens as Gayle smashed an unbeaten 55-ball 102, ironically against his former IPL team and thus his experience in what was his home ground at one point of time, came in handy for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. This was the spark the team needed to light up a huge fire, as the win rejuvenated them thoroughly.
Delhi Daredevils were the next in line to lose in the hands of Vettori’s men as Virat Kohli played exceptionally well on his home ground in domestic cricket, Feroz Shah Kotla to help his team post a 3 wicket win. He bettered his effort in the next game, scoring another half century to ensure that the Royal Challengers win by 26 runs in a home game against the other nascent side, Pune Warriors India.
Although Kohli won the man of the match award in both those matches, Gayle’s blitzkrieg at the top of the order were crucial in handing Bangalore those victories. Hence, the next team to suffer from his onslaught was Kings XI Punjab. In what was another home game for the team, Punjab was crushed by 85 runs courtesy Gayle hitting his second hundred of the tournament in just four matches, and this was a ton scored at a much brisker pace. His 49-ball 107 and followed by 3/21 in 4 overs sealed the victory.
Gayle was proving to be more than just a replacement player for the injured Dirk Nannes, as he won his third man of the match award for a quickfire 44 off just 16 balls but more importantly, 1/26 in 4 overs to help the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Kochi Tuskers Kerala by 9 wickets. His all-round skills did come to the fore against Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals as well in Jaipur, but it was the young Karnataka fast bowler Shrinath Aravind who was voted as the man of the match for his spell of 3/34 in 4 overs.
The team was fortunate to have won by 4 wickets against the Kolkata Knight Riders in a rain hit match in Bangalore as Gayle saved the day for them once again, with his 12-ball 38 before being dismissed by Brett Lee. However, their 7 match winning streak came to a standstill with a crushing 111 run loss to the Kings XI Punjab in Dharamsala, in which Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh put up a 206-run partnership and Daniel Vettori was rested, in order to test the skills of Virat Kohli as captain. Incidentally though, this was the first failure for Gayle in the IPL 2011, as he was out for a seven-ball duck.
But just as a dog’s tail can never be strengthened, Gayle cannot be put down ever. He returned to his swashbuckling style of batting in the next match against the Chennai Super Kings in Bangalore where his unbeaten 50-ball 75 helped the team crush the defending champions by 8 wickets, as they chased down a total of 129 successfully. That win was a huge confidence booster for the team and ended the round-robin stage in style, as they topped the points table with 9 wins in the 14 matches played and made it to the playoffs, turning the tide in their favour in a grand fashion. Chris Gayle in the process, won the Orange Cap for scoring the maximum number of runs in the IPL 2011, with 657 runs in 9 matches.
Royal Challengers Bangalore had to yet again play the Chennai Super Kings in their first playoff match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, following Kolkata Knight Riders’ shock last-ball defeat to the Mumbai Indians in the last round robin match of the tournament in Kolkata. This match was almost a replay of the Mumbai-Kolkata game as Bangalore dominated in the 37 out of the 40 overs played in the match, but in an amazing display of determined as well as powerful hitting, Chennai Super Kings won the match by 6 wickets as more than 50 runs were scored off the last 18 balls.
It meant that the Royal Challengers Bangalore had to still seal their spot for the final in Chennai, and for that they had to face the Mumbai Indians at the same ground, in what was a virtual semifinal game. The match was literally given to the Royal Challengers by the Mumbai Indians captain Sachin Tendulkar, who firstly won the toss and dubiously chose to bowl first and then asked the rookie bowler, Abu Nechim to bowl the first over of the innings instead of his strike bowler, Lasith Malinga. Gayle gorged on Nechim’s lollypop deliveries as he smashed 26 off the 27 runs of that over and by the end of it all, Bangalore ended with 185 runs in 20 overs which was more than sufficient to knock Mumbai out of the championship as the fiery Caribbean opener was once again the man of the match for his all-round performance, bowling an economical spell of 0/11 in 3 overs.
Chennai had the home advantage, although they were playing Bangalore in the final, which was one of the most competitive sides in the tournament. However, on this day nothing specifically went right for the Royal Challengers as Chennai’s openers took the game away from them and Gayle was dismissed in the first over itself, to Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who got the better of him for the second time in the IPL 2011. This was not the team certainly which was the No.1 on the points table and all the players played like paupers when it was needed that they play at their best.
Overall, the Royal Challengers Bangalore finished 2nd as in 2009, but their 2011 IPL record was much more impressive as they eventually won 10 out of the 17 matches they played, with 6 defeats and 1 no result. This is indeed a promising side in the making.
Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Champions League T20 2011
Since they finished as the runners-up in the IPL 2011, they completed a hat-trick of qualifications in the Champions League T20, an amazing achievement indeed. The tournament was shifted back to India and Bangalore fortunately had to play all their group matches at home, and the team was grouped alongside their Indian counterparts Kolkata Knight Riders, South Africa’s supreme side Chevrolet Warriors, England’s Somerset and once again Australia’s South Australia Redbacks.
Royal Challengers Bangalore began the tournament in disastrous fashion with a defeat in the last over to the Warriors team, which chased down a total of 173 despite being behind for most of the match. Followed by which, they were thrashed by Kolkata Knight Riders by 9 wickets in what were excellent batting conditions and a total of 170 proved to be too little for the caliber of batsmen such as Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir.
Bangalore had to fight like they did in the IPL 2011 to survive in the competition and they did so, by thrashing Somerset by 51 runs as Chris Gayle was back in his elements, with an 46-ball 86 to take the team total to a massive 206 in 20 overs. And in the next match, they chased down 215 against the Redbacks, as Tillakratne Dilshan hit a 47-ball 74 but more crucially, it was Arun Karthik, the young Karnataka wicketkeeper batsman who stole the show with a last ball six off the bowling of Daniel Christian to win Bangalore a see-saw match.
One stunning run chase was followed by another. And ironically, it was again an Australian club at the receiving end of Bangalore’s batting firepower. This was an even more convincing run chase as the Royal Challengers chased down 204 with 9 balls to spare, despite a magnificent century from David Warner. Gayle had an equally strong reply to that, with a 41-ball 92 to his name as Bangalore prevailed in a batting battle, by 6 wickets.
It ensured that the team qualified for the final in Chennai against one of their main rivals, Mumbai Indians. Bangalore came into the match as favourites since Mumbai were perceived to be a weaker outfit. The bowlers were able to restrict the Harbhajan Singh-led team to 139 in 20 overs but Gayle once again failed in a final and that cost Bangalore the game dearly. Mumbai won by 31 runs to lift the Champions League and take perfect revenge of Bangalore knocking them out of the IPL 2011 on the same ground.
This also means that Bangalore’s eternal wait to win a T20 title will extend to this year.
Royal Challengers Bangalore and the team in 2012
Bangalore came into the IPL auction this year after successfully negotiating a deal with the Delhi Daredevils for buying Victorian all-rounder Andrew McDonald for $100,000 as well as retaining Chris Gayle for the next two seasons as a permanent player, which is extremely great news for them. Come the auction and they were able to counter one of their weaknesses evident since the last season, i.e. the need for a potential fast bowler. They decided to bring back R Vinay Kumar into the team roster, paying exactly $USD 1 million to purchase him since he is one of the hottest topics in Indian cricket at the moment due to his form since the previous 12 months. Whereas, they also astonishingly bought Sri Lanka’s legendary off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for $USD 220,000. Although it is always an advantage for a team to have Murali in a team, how will he fit in the scheme of things for Bangalore which always has Vettori as its leading spinner?
Anyway, here are some players of the team who are likely to create a big impact this season for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their pursuit of victory –
1) Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)
Born on January 27, 1979, Daniel Vettori has grown into becoming one of the finest spin bowlers world cricket has ever seen, although it is unfortunate that he is underestimated by many due to his nationality. It is a rarity to see New Zealand producing a great spin bowler, due to the pitches and conditions prevalent in the country in which domestic cricketers become conditioned to. But Vettori is different and what also makes him stand out is his determination to succeed irrespective of the situation and the team that he has alongside him, and not to mention his sharp cricketing brain which wins him the respect of oppositions as well.
It was due to his ‘senior statesman’ image that he was appointed captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team in 2011, despite being picked for $USD 550,000. He was the captain of the New Zealand national side from 2007 to 2011 and oversaw his team make it to the World T20 semifinal in 2007, ICC Champions Trophy final in 2009 and the World Cup semifinal in 2011. It is his ability to lead the team and yet not let his bowling down that will hold the key in Bangalore’s success this season, as his presence in the team is a morale booster to the Indian players as well.
2) Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Christopher Henry Gayle was born on September 21, 1979 in Kingston, Jamaica. He made his ODI and Test debuts for the West Indies in the 1999-00 season and captained the national team from the period of 2007-2010. Now that he is in a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board, as he spoke out massively due to the treatment handed out to him, he could be called a ‘freelance’ player who is focusing on making a career by playing in different T20 leagues across the world. He is regarded by many as one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket currently.
His game seems to have improved in the last 12 months due to his success being greater with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011 than with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009 and 2010. He single-handedly led the team to the final of last year’s IPL as well as the Champions League T20, and the team would be hoping that those fireworks are seen this year as well as Bangalore will face much stronger oppositions this time in the IPL.
3) AB de Villiers (South Africa)
Born on February 17, 1984, in Pretoria in the province of Transvaal in South Africa, Abraham Benjamin de Villiers has now become one of South Africa’s batting bulwarks in all formats of the game. His athleticism in running between the wickets and on the field is due to the fact that he is an avid sports fan, excelling in games such as tennis, squash, basketball and golf. He is a personification of the word ‘versatile’ as he bowls part-time and can also do more than a bit if asked to don the wicketkeeping gloves.
Currently South Africa’s ODI and T20 captain, de Villiers’ stature in world cricket continues to rise as he already has the record of scoring one of the fastest hundreds in both ODIs and Tests. Although his responsibilities have added even more, yet he remains an integral part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore set up and the team would wish that he gains some form in New Zealand before coming into the IPL and remains 100% fit for all the matches the team plays.
4) Tillakratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)
Dilshan was born on October 14, 1976 in Kalutara, Sri Lanka. He had an extremely slow start to his career since he used to bat lower down the order which meant that he never used to get many opportunities to prove his worth with the bat. But Dilshan’s career is a fine example of the saying ‘Better late than never’.
Since he was promoted to open the batting in 2009 under Mahela Jayawardene’s captaincy, Dilshan has blossomed into becoming one of the top batsmen in limited overs cricket. He scored a total of 11 centuries that year, which also saw him score the highest amount of runs in the World T20 in England, where he played his innovative ‘Dilscoop’ shot over the wicketkeeper’s head with panache.
He was Sri Lanka’s captain from May 2011 to January 2012, but did not find much success with the team. However, he continues to uphold Sri Lanka’s name not just with his patriotism but also with his batting and fielding, which is outstanding considering he is 35 years old as well as the fact that he can bowl if required adds to his USP. In Bangalore’s perspective, his opening combination with Gayle is one of the most destructive in the IPL and can give bowlers nightmares and make opposition captains scratch their heads time and again.
Royal Challengers Bangalore and controversies
The team had to bear the brunt of poor performances in the first season itself. There was havoc in the team management as Charu Sharma, who was slated to be the CEO of the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the entire first season was fired in the half-way stage of the tournament and was replaced by Brijesh Patel, who has done a good job ever since.
Vijay Mallya had lost his patience with captain Rahul Dravid and the CEO Sharma, blaming them for the team’s failure as they selected the team during the auction poorly and said in public that he should have been involved more in the team strategies. Jacques Kallis, their most expensive foreign player was dropped on the basis of poor form for some matches. While the chief cricketing officer, New Zealand’s legendary Martin Crowe resigned from his post at the end of the season.
Bangalore has also been blamed for relating alcohol to cricket as some people who rate brands or viewers as well believe that the team is not setting a right example for youngsters below the age of 18 who are watching the IPL closely, with alcohol-related advertising and the team named after one of Mallya’s whiskey brands, Royal Challenge. This could be the reason of the team not having a major brand value amongst all the IPL teams.
But coming back to the cricketing aspect, 2009 and 2010 went pretty well for the team although the decisions made in terms of captaincy were also criticized as Kevin Pietersen had a rough stint as England’s captain a few months before, at the time when he was named captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. And then when he had to leave the team, Anil Kumble was given the leadership reins.
At the beginning of the 2011 tournament when Bangalore their first three out of the four matches, the team management was blamed heavily for a ‘wrong’ selection of the team and Siddhartha Mallya, the chairman was even abused on the social networking site, Twitter for the failures at that stage. The anger was understandable since the team had no renowned local names such as Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble or Robin Uthappa from the 2011 season onwards and they did not bid again for Kevin Pietersen or one of the crowd favourites, Ross Taylor. However, that matter was settled down with the arrival of Chris Gayle, whose performances won the hearts of the people of the garden city.
But due to Bangalore being runners up in the IPL and CL T20 2011, critics still wonder if the team can do without Chris Gayle, therefore coining the team as a ‘one-man army’.
Interesting facts about the Royal Challengers Bangalore
1) Royal Challengers Bangalore is named after one of Vijay Mallya’s whiskey brands called ‘Royal Challenge’.
2) It was the second most expensive franchise in the IPL 2008, bought for $USD 111.6 million.
3) It is the only team to have four actors as their brand ambassadors, i.e. Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Ramya and Puneeth Rajkumar.
4) Royal Challengers Bangalore is the only Indian team to have played in all the editions of the Champions League T20 so far.
5) It is the only team to have finished as the runners up in the IPL twice.
6) Ray Jennings, the coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore took over in 2009 from Ventakesh Prasad, with the experience of coaching South Africa before.
7) Kevin Pietersen was the most expensive player alongside Andrew Flintoff in the IPL 2009.
8) Daniel Vettori, Tillakratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Dirk Nannes and Andrew McDonald had played for the Delhi Daredevils in the first three years of the IPL.
9) Virat Kohli is the highest run getter for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the history of the IPL, with 1699 runs in 78 matches at an average of 30.33; his best score being 84 not out.
10) Anil Kumble is the highest wicket-taker for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the history of the IPL, with 53 wickets in 51 matches with an economy rate of 6.65 and his best bowling figures being 5/5 in 4 overs.
11) Chris Gayle and Tillakratne Dilshan have scored centuries in all three formats of the game.
12) Saurabh Tiwary and Zaheer Khan played together for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2010.
13) Charl Langeveldt and Cheteshwar Pujara played together for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2010.
14) Vinay Kumar and Muttiah Muralitharan played together for the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL 2011.
15) Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan and Vinay Kumar are the only players who have played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first three years of the IPL.
16) Left-arm spinner Syed Mohammed hails from the city of Chennai.