RCB’s most memorable comebacks
They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. There will be days when things are not going to go your way. There will be days when everything seems to be conspiring against you. But top teams and champion players find a way to keep their chin up and never give up. Today, we look at three occasions on which RCB rose like a phoenix from the ashes and claimed victory from the jaws of defeat.
RCB vs Kolkata Knight Riders, May 12, 2009
The 2009 season till this point had been topsy-turvy for RCB. The campaign had victories sprinkled here and there with strong performances but had ever shown any consistency. With only four games left in the league phase, RCB needed to treat every game as a virtual knockout. Batting first, the Kolkata Knight Riders posted a massive 173 on the board, thanks to Brendon McCullum’s unbeaten 84. The pursuit had begun promisingly for Bangalore with a half-century stand between Jacques Kallis and Jesse Ryder. But, the innings fell apart in the middle overs, as both the openers and the no.3 Robin Uthappa fell in a span of 3 overs, leaving RCB needing 100 runs from the last 9 overs.
With their campaign on the line, Ross Taylor and Rahul Dravid set out to construct a meaningful partnership. The partnership kept RCB in the hunt, but when Dravid fell, RCB were still 52 runs off the target, with exactly half the number of balls left. When the chances of a win looked extremely bleak, Ross Taylor decided to make the stage his own. With nothing to lose, the Kiwi dasher unleashed a slew of his trademark slogs and slog-sweeps over mid-wicket and square-leg leaving the KKR bowlers dazed. Taylor’s innings of 81 off only 33 balls took RCB over the line in a must-win game when they looked down and out. The victory breathed new life into RCB’s campaign; One in which RCB made the final with this being the first of five consecutive wins on the road to the final.
RCB vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, May 4, 2019
Despite the 2019 season not being the most memorable in RCB’s history, there were moments of magic that enthralled the RCB faithful. The crowds had thronged the stadiums despite the team not being at their best, and RCB had a chance to repay the fans for their unwavering support throughout the tumultuous phase as they took on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final league game of the season. Sunrisers Hyderabad put up a strong batting performance, with their skipper Kane Williamson scoring a 43-ball 70 to propel them to 175. The RCB run-chase seemed to have faltered at the very beginning, losing the top 3 with only 20 runs on the board. The loss was even more monumental considering both Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers had perished within the first three overs.
There was very little hope of RCB winning the game, with 155 still left to get. Gurkeerat Singh and Shimron Hetmyer had failed to give a just audition of their talents. However, the duo chose the final day of the RCB season to deliver a counter-attacking display that left the Sunrisers bowlers shell-shocked. The record-breaking fourth-wicket stand in the IPL of 144-run stand took RCB to the brink of victory from a seemingly hopeless position. Hetmyer’s 75 and Gurkeerat’s 65 also made sure RCB had nullified the threat of Sunrisers’ most potent weapon, Rashid Khan, who in fact ended up conceding 44 runs in his four overs. Despite a late hiccup, RCB won the game comfortably, with 4 balls to spare.
RCB vs Gujarat Lions, May 24, 2016
RCB had been on a roll in the 2016 season. Captain Virat Kohli was in the middle of the darkest of purple patches, having scored an unprecedented four centuries in the season. RCB had made it to the playoffs having clinched the second spot on the league table with six wins out of seven games in the second half of the season. With a chance to seal a spot in the final at stake, RCB were up against table-toppers Gujarat Lions in front of a boisterous Chinnaswamy crowd.
Gujarat Lions, having gotten off to a torrid start, losing 3 wickets for next to nothing, managed to set a target of 159 for RCB with Dwayne Smith’s 73 rescuing the innings. Chasing a smallish total, RCB top order crumbled. Inside the powerplay, RCB lost 5 wickets for only 29 runs; the five wickets including those of chase-master Virat Kohli and the Jamaican superstar Chris Gayle. Thankfully for RCB, AB De Villiers was still in the middle.
De Villiers was RCB’s last remaining hope and needed to stitch partnerships to give the innings a semblance of direction. He found an able ally in Stuart Binny and the duo put on 1 39-run stand. Just when RCB were looking to accelerate, Binny fell leg-before and RCB sunk deeper into trouble. But, as long as De Villiers is at the crease, no target is unattainable, not even 91 runs from just over ten overs, batting alongside the tail. Iqbal Abdulla battled admirably, but it was the De Villiers show at the Chinnaswamy. He picked his moments to go after the Gujarat bowlers with a surgeon’s precision. The three overs from the 15th to the 17th changed the complexion of the game, as De Villiers brutalized the Gujarat bowling, taking 42 runs. Before the Gujarat bowlers could realize what had happened, RCB clawed their way back into the game. De Villiers remained unbeaten on 79 off only 47 balls, and the seventh wicket stand of 91 took RCB to the final with 10 balls to spare.