I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to write an article a long time ago about the woes of RCB but I was being painfully optimistic and kept putting it off. “A line up like that can’t carry on losing… and losing… and losing.” “It’s just a bad run, all teams go through it.” Yet here we are, match 34 of 56 with a star studded RCB having played 8 games and lost 7. Yet RCB fans are high as ever, ready and rooting for the express pace of Dale Steyn. Virat Kohli has created a high like no other, one that has kept RCB fans hooked.
I spent the last three months in Bangalore and I was lucky enough to see a few RCB games. The atmosphere was like nothing I had ever seen before. I’ve been to my fair share of World Cup games, Champions Trophy games, bilateral series’ in the UAE, England, Sri Lanka and even India. I’d seen the big rivalry of India v Pakistan but this was something else. It was electric. Chinnaswamy stadium was on fire, a sea of red engulfed the stadium. It was the 7th match, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians and I could see no blue. Silence fell over the Stadium as Hardik Pandya hammered a six out of the stadium. He wasn’t their man. It didn’t matter what he had done for India, he was wearing the wrong shade of blue right now.
Then came AB De Villiers. A deafening roar errupted from the ground “ABD… ABD…”, louder than any I had heard before, like a clap of thunder “ABD… ABD…”, louder than MS Dhoni walking out just a few weeks before at the same stadium during the India v Australia series. What country was I in? Had I landed back in South Africa? Every ball, every run, every boundary, every maximum was fuel being added to the fire that was Chinnaswamy. Nothing else mattered. It was like a fix.
It was entirely forgotten that only the week before, RCB had been toppled over with 10/11 players not even reaching double figures.
Next came the Kolkata Knight Riders. Match 17 of the IPL. RCB were 4 losses in and yet to get their first points on the table but still a passionate fire blazed at Chinnaswamy. This was the day. RCB batted first and the sea of red burned bright in the Stadium. A 108 run partnership between Kohli and AB and the stadium was in a state of pure ecstasy.
205 on the board. It was going to be RCB’s first win… That was until Big Muscle Russell walked out. 42 of his 13-ball 48 came off maximums. A spectacle. He bludgeoned the ball straight back over the bowler each one going further than the previous. Silence in the stadium and the fans were once again put on a spiraling comedown.
A lot of questions are surrounding RCB right now with who is running the show. Is it Virat Kohli? Is it Ashish Nehra? One thing is for certain, the RCB fans are still hooked but how long will it last?