Royal Challengers Bangalore endured yet another disappointment in the latter stages of the Indian Premier League, losing out at the hands of Rajasthan Royals and Jos Buttler in Qualifier 2. Virat Kohli and his team have extended their titleless run in the competition to 15 seasons following their failure against the Royals, who themselves were beaten in the final by the Gujarat Titans.
Despite the brilliance of Kohli, the 33-year-old has never been able to inspire his team to victory. At the peak of his powers in 2016, when he scored an incredible 973 over the course of the competition, Kohli was seemingly on the verge of single-handedly guiding his team to the crown.
However, he could not produce the match-winning effort in the final, even though he did notch a half-century in his side’s defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad. The pressure in big situations has also been on the shoulders of Kohli. He is the best player in the world on his day and the biggest name in Indian cricket. Therefore, it is only natural that RCB fans and the rest of the IPL have been transfixed on the former India captain to produce a mesmeric performance on the grand stage. For one reason or another, Kohli has not been able to deliver in those crux moments under the bright lights, which has put a slight dent in his legacy.
In 2022, he was even given the support from his teammates in the post-season. Rajat Patidar played the innings of his career against the Lucknow Super Giant in the Eliminator Stage, blasting an unbeaten 112 from 54 balls to set up a mammoth total for RCB that allowed them to advance to Qualifier 2 and a showdown against the Royals. Patidar came to the fore once more for his team with a half-century after Kohli was dismissed for 25, but Buttler scored his fourth century of the competition to eliminate RCB.
There has been no excuse for RCB not to get over the line at least once during the 15 years of the IPL. They possessed arguably three of the greatest T20 cricket batsmen of all-time with Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers for seven seasons between 2011 and 2017, and still failed to lift the crown. The franchise have also had extremely talented bowlers in their ranks such as Yuzvendra Chahal. Chahal’s departure at the end of the 2021 season loomed large as he won the Purple Cap for the Royals in 2022.
His replacement Wanindu Hasaranga, who was acquired in the IPL Super Auction was outstanding and softened the blow, while Josh Hazlewood and Harshal Patel were also on point throughout the tournament. When it came to the crunch moments, Hasaranga and Hazlewood were once again excellent, but the depth of the bowling unit crumbled under Buttler’s onslaught. It has been a common theme throughout RCB’s quest to win the IPL. They have had the talent, but have not been able to deliver in the crucial moments and unless that changes the franchise will never get over the hump.
After Gujarat’s triumph, they will be one of the favourites for the IPL crown in the 2023 season, using their experience and the nous of their roster to attempt to make a surge for back-to-back crowns. Buttler will ensure that the Royals are highly touted among the sports betting sites for another run next term. RCB will be one of the leading contenders from the betting sites in India for the 2023 competition based on the talent of their line-up. Kohli will once again be front and centre for Bangalore, while they will be hopeful that Faf du Plessis will remain on the team along with Glenn Maxwell and the impressive Patidar. Kohli has to improve after an underwhelming 2022 campaign, none more so than the Qualifier. While Buttler was scoring the century that led the Royals into the final, Kohli made only seven in his innings. It was a telling factor in the contest, but also the fortunes of RCB during their unsuccessful IPL tenure.
There have been a number of reasons why RCB have failed to win the crown, but the most important has been the failure of their main men. The pressure will only increase on Kohli as his time at the top runs out, he must make it count for his team sooner rather than later.