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RCB’s Heartwarming Farewell: Yet Another Season Without the Trophy

As Rovman Powell magnificently launched Lockie Ferguson’s delivery for a six back over the bowler’s head, the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) ‘DREAM’ came to an abrupt end. The coveted ‘Ee sala cup namde’—a Kannada phrase that translates to “This time the cup is ours”—remained an unfulfilled promise for another year. Again, RCB bowed out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after a journey that, while void of a trophy, succeeded in winning hearts once more.

Their 2024 IPL campaign added another chapter to their roller-coaster history. For the ninth time in the 17-season history of the IPL, RCB secured a playoff spot but couldn’t break their trophy curse. Demonstrating fair consistency, they have managed to qualify for the playoffs four times in the last five seasons, including the 2024 edition. Unfortunately, they have failed to transform any of these playoff appearances into a title. In these seasons, they never made it to the final game, exiting in the eliminator three times and once in the second qualifier.

The 2024 IPL journey of RCB was remarkable yet distressing. The team faced a dismal start, winning just one out of their first eight matches. This disappointing beginning left even the most optimistic fans devoid of hope. RCB’s setbacks were compounded by the poor form of their bowlers and inconsistent performances from their batsmen, with the exception of the ever-reliable Virat Kohli. The team was rooted at the bottom of the table, and the prospect of them finishing above the last place seemed unattainable, let alone making the playoffs.

However, RCB’s fortunes began to change when they played without the burden of expectations. Following their lone victory against the Punjab Kings, RCB then suffered six consecutive losses, causing the hopes of even their staunchest supporters to waver. But a closer look reveals that their resurgence was already brewing. In the latter two of those six losses, they fought valiantly, losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad by 25 runs and to Kolkata Knight Riders by a painful single run.

Against SRH, they chased a daunting target of 287, primarily due to Dinesh Karthik’s explosive 83 off 35 balls, and fell just short at 262.

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. In the thriller against KKR, despite being set a challenging target of 222 runs, RCB almost clinched the win, losing narrowly by one run. At one stage, needing only 85 runs from nine overs with nine wickets in hand, they seemed to have the game in their grip before falling short.

Recognizing they had nothing more to lose, RCB began to embrace a fearless playing style, which marked the beginning of their remarkable comeback. Fortune also favored them as certain results in other games fell their way. Ultimately, everything boiled down to a must-win final league match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Backed by an enthusiastic home crowd, RCB delivered a stunning performance and overcame the five-time champions to qualify for the playoffs.

Unfortunately, their dream run hit a roadblock in the eliminator against Rajasthan Royals. While their unexpected playoff qualification garnered them much-deserved praise, the euphoria seemed to have sapped some of their focus and maturity. This celebratory mindset might have sent the wrong signal to the other playoff contenders, weakening RCB’s critical edge.

With the playoff stage set, the pressure was back on RCB, reigniting the fans’ dreams of finally clinching the elusive IPL trophy. However, the atmosphere wasn’t as favorable since the eliminator wasn’t played in Bengaluru, and they were up against a formidable opponent in Rajasthan Royals, who had won eight out of nine matches earlier in the season.

In the eliminator, RCB reverted to old habits—dropping crucial catches and posting under-par scores. They failed to capitalize on key opportunities, including early drops of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Despite a subpar performance, the Royals themselves stuttered later in the chase, giving RCB a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, Faf du Plessis and his men couldn’t harness the opportunity to conjure another miraculous win to stay alive.

When the dust settled, RCB’s dreams were, once again, in ruins. The comforting yet frustrating narrative of RCB “WINNING HEARTS” resurfaced—a phrase that has often accompanied their exit from the IPL’s grand stage. Their journey in IPL 2024, while not yielding the desired silverware, undoubtedly left an indelible impression on fans and neutral observers alike.