CHANGE IS THE ONLY THING PERMANENT IN THIS WORLD…
The journey of IPL 2011 started much before the actual tournament began, in fact even before the auctions. It all started with two new franchises being formed and all the existing franchises given an option to retain up to four players, albeit for a hefty price. With some of the teams using this option to the fullest and retaining four players, while going all out to re-buy their other former players in the auction, RCB’s approach for a completely new-look side came under a lot of scrutiny. But on the first morning of the auction, RCB did the best business possible, buying the likes of Vettori, Dilshan, DeVilliers, Zaheer. Add the retained Virat Kohli to this list, and already the team was one to watch out for. Growing from this point on, with the addition of proven names like Nannes, Langeveldt, and some budding Indian talent including Tiwary and Pujara, the team was definitely looking good.
As the tournament itself began, RCB started off with a very professional performance against newcomers Kochi Tuskers, reassuring its fans that the team definitely had what it takes to reach the summit. What followed was a slump which threatened to put the playoffs out of reach. The team needed a victory more than ever.
Then, probably the most decisive moment ever in the history of IPL arrived. And this time, it was not on the field, but off it. One wouldn’t mind giving a million dollars to whoever it was in the RCB think-tank to first suggest the name of Chris Gayle as a replacement for the injured Nannes. And when the big Jamaican signed on the dotted line, it would change the course of the entire tournament. Maybe it was the challenge of making a comeback against his former team Kolkata Knight Riders that was exactly needed to charge Gayle up. The most dangerous man in the world is one who has nothing to lose. Untouched by any of the franchises in the auctions, and forsaken by his own national selectors, Gayle had nothing to lose and everything to prove.
AND PROVE HE DID!! With a smashing century, highlighted with some mammoth sixes, Gayle announced his arrival to the IPL. From this moment on, there was no looking back. One thing any diehard fan wants is to see his team do well, especially in home games. And the team didn’t disappoint! With a stunning batting display, and a solid bowling performance, RCB picked up its first home victory of the season against Pune Warriors India. This, followed by a string of successive home victories, against the likes of Kings’ XI Punjab and against Kochi Tuskers Kerala are still fresh in everyone’s minds.
Amidst all this carnage on the field, RCB was doing its bit off the field too. With its GO GREEN campaign, RCB would be the first carbon-neutral cricket team in the world, which is quite a remarkable achievement. RCB players donned a special Go Green jersey too for their match against Kochi. RCB was doing its best to create awareness among its fans. Meanwhile, on the field, RCB was getting better and better. The bowling department, which, at a point of time looked jaded, was beginning to show signs of being very formidable, with the likes of Srinath Aravind and Syed Mohammed rising to the occasion and picking up wickets consistently. Not to forget the contributions of the skipper,“Dan the Man” , who was bowling superbly, choking up the runs every time he came on to bowl, and picking up crucial wickets along the way too. With victories against Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders in a rain-curtailed game, RCB had turned around a three match losing streak into a record seven match winning streak! RCB was all but in the top four, but with a new format for the playoffs, a top-two finish was needed. And with a convincing victory over CSK at home, RCB were on the perch. For the first time, RCB had finished on top of the table. Despite a loss in the thrilling encounter of the first qualifier, RCB still had the belief to go all the way. There were no second chances from here on. And one lifeline was all we needed, as Chris Gayle again dismantled the Mumbai Indians’ bowling. With a clinical all-round performance, RCB sailed into the finals with ease. And although the finals didn’t go as planned, RCB have definitely won the hearts of one and all!
The joy and exhilaration that you get when a team wins, the euphoria, cannot be put into words. Watching a sea of red flags, and hearing the loud cheers of ”AAAAAR CEEEEE BEEEEE” drowning the entire stadium still gives the goosebumps, and that is what brings a fan back to the stadium. Again, and again, and again.
Performance wise, Chris Gayle has been undoubtedly the star of the season. With six man of the match awards in twelve games, the winner of the Orange Cap, hitting more than twice as many sixes as his nearest competitor, Chris “Thor” Gayle has redefined the term clean-hitting. A mixture of brute strength and sheer class, and equally wily with the ball, Gayle has certainly cemented his place in the heart of every RCB fan. The Gayle force has certainly taken Bangalore by storm. Bangalore grooves to the Jamaican’s moves! As for the team, we can only grow from strength to strength from here onwards. Things surely look bright for the boys in Red, Gold and Blue. RCB’s faith in the youth was not misplaced as the young guns have stepped up to the plate. Three international captains in the form of Vettori, Dilshan, and DeVilliers will certainly help bring out the best in this team. It has been a wonderful learning curve for the team, and the best is by far yet to come. It surely won’t be too long before RCB starts adding some silverware to their eagerly awaiting trophy cabinet
- One of the many million RCB fans