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RCB’s Eco-Friendly Crusade: Green Jerseys at Eden Gardens Set Environmental Example in IPL 2024 Clash

Sunday’s high-stakes showdown at Eden Gardens was not just another cricket match in the Indian Premier League’s illustrious history. It marked a momentous occasion where the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) donned their now-iconic green jerseys against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)—a vibrant symbol of their commitment to environmental sustainability. For the first time in the IPL history, the ‘Go Green’ initiative game, typically a feature of matches held in Bengaluru, took place in Kolkata on April 21, 2024, outside of RCB’s traditional home ground.

The ‘Go Green’ initiative by RCB has been an enduring campaign every season since 2011, with players wearing the green kit to create awareness around a more sustainable environment. It has been an annual nod to the importance of ecological conservation and a call to action for fans and citizens to adopt more eco-friendly practices. This relentless pursuit to blend sport with social responsibility saw RCB proudly emerge as the first carbon-neutral cricket team.

Underlining their commitment, the India Cares Foundation acknowledged RCB’s successful restoration of two major lakes in Bengaluru, with ongoing efforts to revive a third. RCB’s environmental consciousness extends beyond the playing kit—the players themselves have been vocal advocates of planting trees and conserving essential resources such as water and electricity.

Despite the noble initiatives, the green jersey has not necessarily been a good luck charm for RCB’s on-field performance. In the twelve matches played wearing the green attire, RCB’s win-loss record stands less than stellar. They have tasted victory on just four occasions, suffered seven defeats, and one match against the then named Delhi Daredevils in 2015 had to be abandoned due to rain. The team, however, has seen some success recently, winning two consecutive matches in the last couple of years wearing the jersey.

The green kit has seen some memorable RCB victories including a massive 144-run win against the Gujarat Lions in 2016 and a confident 67-run triumph over Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2022. In their most recent green jersey game before the KKR clash, they narrowly defeated the Rajasthan Royals by seven runs in 2023. On the flip side, they’ve had to endure tough losses, such as the 19-run defeat against the Rajasthan Royals in 2018 and an 8-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings in both 2014 and 2020.

For the 2024 season, the decision to host the ‘Go Green’ game outside Bengaluru was influenced by the absence of a home day game on RCB’s schedule. This isn’t the first instance of RCB taking their green initiative on the road; the 2020 season saw the tournament shift to the UAE, necessitating an away-from-home ‘Go Green’ game. The last confrontation with KKR while in green, back in 2017, witnessed RCB fall to a devastating powerplay onslaught by Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn.

With the stakes higher than ever, the Faf du Plessis-led side stepped onto the field at Eden Gardens with a resolute frame of mind. Although Narine has already inflicted damage on RCB in their first encounter this season, the team aimed for a turnaround in fortunes while sporting the green. For RCB, victories in each of their remaining games are crucial to cling on to their playoff aspirations, even if just by a mathematical possibility.

Environmental advocacy and cricket fervor fused in this vital IPL clash at Eden Gardens, illustrating that the spirit of the game encompasses more than just runs and wickets—it’s also about the large-scale impact teams and players can make off the field. Whether or not the change in color will result in a change in luck, RCB’s eco-friendly message certainly batted well beyond the boundary ropes, setting significant precedents for global sports franchises.