Bengaluru, Karnataka, home to Royal Challengers Bangalore (often abbreviated as RCB), has been the epicenter of thrilling cricket action since 2008. This professional franchise cricket team, competing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has etched its name into the annals of cricket history. Founded in 2008 by United Spirits, RCB’s name was inspired by the company’s renowned liquor brand, Royal Challenge. Though the IPL trophy has eluded them, their journey has been filled with records, enthusiasm, and a loyal fan base.
A Rollercoaster Ride
The Royal Challengers have had their share of ups and downs, finishing as runners-up in the IPL on three occasions between 2009 and 2016. However, their journey has been marked by unforgettable moments. Notably, they hold both the highest and lowest totals in IPL history, scoring a phenomenal 263/5 at their best and enduring a challenging innings where they managed only 49 runs at their worst.
Origins of the Franchise
The journey of the Royal Challengers Bangalore began in September 2007 when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the inception of the Indian Premier League, a groundbreaking Twenty20 competition. In 2008, the teams representing eight different Indian cities, including Bangalore, were auctioned in Mumbai. The Bangalore franchise was acquired by Vijay Mallya, who made a substantial investment of US$111.6 million. This bid was the second highest in the league, trailing only Reliance Industries‘ bid for the Mumbai Indians.
2008: A Tumultuous Start
In 2008, the IPL named Rahul Dravid as the icon player for the RCB, guaranteeing him a 15% higher salary than the highest bid player at the auction. The franchise made significant acquisitions, including international stars like Jacques Kallis, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn, and Cameron White. They also added Ross Taylor, Misbah-ul-Haq, and a young Virat Kohli to their squad.
The inaugural season, however, was challenging for the Royal Challengers. They managed to win only four out of 14 matches, ending the season in seventh place. Rahul Dravid was the standout performer, scoring over 300 runs in the tournament. Despite their star-studded lineup, the team faced struggles, even benching their high-profile foreign player Jacques Kallis due to his poor form.
The string of failures led to significant changes off the field. CEO Charu Sharma was sacked, and Brijesh Patel took over. Team owner Vijay Mallya publicly criticized Dravid and Sharma for their player selections and expressed regret for not being more involved in the process. This season also saw the resignation of the chief cricketing officer, Martin Crowe.
2009: A Change in Leadership
In the 2009 IPL player auction, RCB made a headline-grabbing move by signing Kevin Pietersen for a record sum of US$1.55 million, making him one of the costliest players in the league. They also traded Zaheer Khan for Robin Uthappa with the Mumbai Indians and acquired local talent Manish Pandey.
Before the start of the season, the franchise shifted the tournament to South Africa due to the general elections. Kevin Pietersen was named the team captain for the season. However, the team struggled during the initial games, winning only two of their first six matches under Pietersen’s leadership.
The turning point came when Pietersen left for national duty, and Anil Kumble took over the captaincy. The team found its form and won six of their remaining eight league games, finishing third in the points table. In the semifinals, they faced the formidable Chennai Super Kings, and after restricting them to 146, RCB chased down the target with 5 wickets in hand. The journey continued to the final, where they faced the Deccan Chargers. Despite Kumble’s impressive figures of 4 for 16, RCB faced a challenging run chase and narrowly lost by six runs in a tense finish.
2010: Semifinal Heartbreak
The 2010 season saw the Royal Challengers under Kumble’s captaincy once again. They finished the regular season with seven wins from 14 matches and 14 points. They were one of four teams tied on 14 points, but they qualified for the semifinals due to their superior net run rate.
In the semifinal, they faced the table-topping Mumbai Indians but were defeated by 35 runs. However, they secured a convincing nine-wicket win over the defending champions, Deccan Chargers, in the third-place playoff. This victory earned them a spot in the 2010 Champions League Twenty20.
Anil Kumble’s retirement at the end of the Champions League marked the conclusion of a season where RCB reached the semifinals in both the IPL and the CLT20.
The early years of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL were marked by challenges and triumphs. As the team continued to evolve, they were on the cusp of achieving greater glory in the seasons to come.
2011: A Season of Records
The 2011 IPL season began with the player auction, where teams had the option to retain a maximum of four players for a sum of US$4.5 million. RCB chose to retain Virat Kohli as their sole player and released the rest to the auction pool. In the auction, they made several significant signings, including Tillakaratne Dilshan, Zaheer Khan, AB de Villiers, Daniel Vettori, Saurabh Tiwary, Dirk Nannes, and Cheteshwar Pujara. The West Indian powerhouse, Chris Gayle, was brought in as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes.
Under the leadership of Daniel Vettori, RCB began their campaign with a comfortable win over the newly-formed Kochi Tuskers Kerala. After a few initial hiccups against Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers, and Chennai Super Kings, the team’s fortune took a turn for the better when Chris Gayle’s explosive century against Kolkata Knight Riders ignited their season.
RCB managed to secure crucial victories against Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors, Kings XI Punjab, Kochi Tuskers, and Rajasthan Royals. Chris Gayle’s remarkable performances with the bat became a defining feature of their season. The team clinched the top spot in the points table by defeating Chennai Super Kings in their last league match, thanks to another brilliant knock by Gayle.
In the playoffs, RCB faced Chennai Super Kings in the 1st qualifier, where Virat Kohli’s heroic innings powered them to a competitive total. However, Chennai Super Kings chased it down and secured their place in the final. RCB then took on Mumbai Indians in the 2nd qualifier, with Chris Gayle playing a starring role with the bat, guiding them to victory and a spot in the final.
In the final, RCB faced Chennai Super Kings once again. Despite a formidable target set by the Super Kings, RCB struggled with the bat and lost the match by 58 runs, finishing as runners-up. Chris Gayle was named the Man of the Tournament, and the team set a new IPL record by winning seven consecutive matches.
2012: A Season of Highs and Lows
In 2012, RCB kicked off the IPL season without the services of Chris Gayle, who was nursing a groin injury. Sreenath Aravind, their most successful bowler in the previous season, was also sidelined due to injury. Harshal Patel emerged as the preferred third seamer in the side. AB de Villiers and Muttiah Muralitharan helped RCB secure a winning start against Delhi Daredevils, but three consecutive losses followed.
The team made a comeback with Chris Gayle’s remarkable performances against Pune Warriors. Wins against Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals added to their tally. A washed-out match against Chennai Super Kings meant shared points. Two subsequent losses put RCB in competition with other teams for the last play-off spot.
Daniel Vettori benched himself to accommodate Muttiah Muralitharan as one of the four foreign players allowed in the playing XI, with Virat Kohli taking over the captaincy. The team signed Prasanth Parameswaran as a replacement for the injured Sreenath Aravind. RCB’s spectacular chase against Deccan Chargers and victories in Mumbai and Pune put them back on track for a place in the play-offs. Chris Gayle’s sensational century in Delhi was one of the highlights of the season.
However, the competition was fierce, and RCB found themselves in direct competition with Chennai Super Kings for the final play-offs spot. Although tied on points, Chennai had the edge in net run-rate. A batting failure in RCB’s final game of the season ended their 2012 campaign, marking the first time since 2009 that they failed to qualify for both the play-offs and the Champions League Twenty20.
Chris Gayle once again led from the front, finishing as the highest run-scorer of the tournament, while Vinay Kumar stood out as one of the top wicket-takers.
The 2011 and 2012 seasons were a mix of glory and challenges for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. While they came tantalizingly close to winning the IPL in 2011, the subsequent season posed its own set of hurdles. Nevertheless, RCB’s ability to bounce back and their fearless brand of cricket made them a team to watch out for in the years to come.
2013: A Mix of Success and Heartbreak
Before the 2013 auction, RCB decided to release several players, including Mohammad Kaif, Charl Langeveldt, Dirk Nannes, Luke Pomersbach, and Rilee Rossouw. In the auction, the team made strategic signings, bringing in players like Christopher Barnwell, Daniel Christian, Moisés Henriques, Ravi Rampaul, Pankaj Singh, R. P. Singh, and Jaydev Unadkat.
RCB’s 2013 campaign started on a high note, winning their first six home games. These victories included a thrilling 2-run win over the Mumbai Indians, where Chris Gayle’s explosive 92* off 58 balls and Vinay Kumar’s 3 wickets set the tone. The team also achieved convincing wins against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. The incredible form of Gayle and Virat Kohli with the bat, along with Vinay Kumar’s exceptional bowling, proved crucial in these victories.
While RCB suffered a shock defeat to Chennai Super Kings due to a controversial no-ball incident, they quickly bounced back, winning three more games. One of the most memorable moments of the season was Chris Gayle’s record-breaking 175 off just 66 balls against Pune Warriors India, which remains the highest individual score in T20 cricket. RCB put up a staggering 263-5, the highest total in T20 cricket at the time.
Despite their success at home, RCB faced challenges in away matches, losing games to teams like Kings XI Punjab and Pune Warriors India. Towards the end of the season, they were in direct competition with Sunrisers Hyderabad for a playoff spot. Their fate hung in the balance, and they had to win their last league match against Chennai Super Kings, which they did in stunning fashion.
However, RCB’s hopes were dashed when Sunrisers Hyderabad secured a convincing win in their last league match. Chris Gayle was the season’s leading run-scorer with 708 runs, and Vinay Kumar emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 22 wickets.
2014: A Season to Forget
In 2014, RCB retained key players Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Chris Gayle. The team made significant acquisitions in the auction, including Yuvraj Singh, the most expensive player that season, fetching a massive ₹14 crore. However, RCB had a challenging season, finishing 7th in the points table and failing to qualify for the playoffs.
2015: A Glimpse of Hope
In 2015, RCB retained several players and made strategic purchases during the auction. The team started the season with a mix of results, highlighted by strong batting performances from Chris Gayle and notable bowling contributions. As the season progressed, RCB’s form fluctuated, winning some and losing others.
They faced a must-win situation towards the end of the season to secure a playoff spot. RCB’s resilience shone through as they registered important wins, eventually finishing in third place in the points table. The team qualified for the playoffs, but their journey was halted by Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 2, ending the season in third place.
AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, and Chris Gayle were among the top run-scorers in the season, while Yuzvendra Chahal emerged as RCB’s highest wicket-taker.
These seasons set the stage for what would become an unforgettable campaign in 2016. With new developments, fresh talent, and a renewed spirit, RCB was determined to make a mark in the upcoming season.
2016: A Dream Season Awaits
In 2016, Royal Challengers Bangalore underwent significant changes, both on and off the field. Financial scandals involving owner/chairman Vijay Mallya led to Amrit Thomas taking over as the chairman of the team. RCB introduced a new team logo and became the first IPL team to adopt different jerseys for home and away matches.
With a star-studded lineup that included Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, and several strategic auction acquisitions, RCB had high hopes for the season. The year started with a brilliant win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, showcasing the incredible prowess of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.
The season had its ups and downs, but a sublime run of form from Virat Kohli with both the bat and as captain played a pivotal role in RCB’s journey. They achieved several remarkable victories, including a historic 144-run win over the Gujarat Lions, the largest margin of victory in IPL history at the time.
RCB finished the league stage in an unlikely second position, earning a spot in the playoffs. Although they reached the final, they narrowly missed the IPL trophy, losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 runs.
The 2016 season was historic, with Virat Kohli setting a record for the most runs in an IPL season. RCB’s thrilling journey in the competition marked a significant chapter in the team’s history.
As the seasons unfolded, the Royal Challengers Bangalore showcased their resilience, star power, and determination, setting the stage for future campaigns with renewed hope for an IPL championship.
2017: Captaincy Struggles and Injuries
In 2017, RCB retained a core group of players, including Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Mitchell Starc, and others. They made strategic additions during the player auctions, with Tymal Mills emerging as their most expensive purchase at ₹12 crore.
The season began on a challenging note for RCB as injuries to key players, including Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, forced them to miss initial matches. Shane Watson took on the role of interim captain in their absence. Despite winning their second match against Delhi Daredevils, RCB struggled to find consistency.
The team lost three consecutive matches against Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, and Rising Pune Supergiant. While AB de Villiers’ explosive 89 off 46 balls couldn’t secure victory against Kings XI Punjab, Virat Kohli’s return with a quick 62 off 47 balls and Samuel Badree’s hat-trick weren’t enough to win against Mumbai Indians.
RCB’s miseries continued with a 27-run defeat against Rising Pune Supergiant, followed by a 20-run win against Gujarat Lions, during which Chris Gayle became the first player to reach 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. However, their fortunes took a dramatic turn for the worse in a match against Kolkata Knight Riders, where they were bundled out for a mere 49 runs, the lowest IPL score at the time.
The struggles continued as their big guns, including Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers, failed to fire consistently. The pitch at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, which was known for high-scoring matches, had transformed into a bowling-friendly surface, adding to RCB’s batting woes. Frequent changes to the playing squad contributed to their downfall.
In a season marked by disappointment, RCB managed to end on a slightly positive note by defeating Delhi Daredevils by 10 runs in Delhi. Despite their resilience, they registered low scores like 49 all out against Kolkata Knight Riders, 96/9 against Rising Pune Supergiant, and 119 all out against Kings XI Punjab.
2018: Another Season to Forget
In the 2018 IPL season, RCB finished 6th in the points table and once again failed to qualify for the playoffs. The disappointment continued, and fans coined the catchphrase “ee sala cup namde” (this time, the cup is ours) during 2017, which became a meme on social media.
2019: Dale Steyn’s Heroics and Another Disheartening Season
As the 2019 IPL approached, RCB invested ₹16.4 crores to acquire nine new players. In the midst of the tournament, Dale Steyn, one of the best fast bowlers in the game, joined the squad and played a crucial role in several victories. Unfortunately, he was ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury after just three matches.
Despite their efforts, RCB once again faltered in the group stage, winning only five out of 14 matches, with eight losses and one tied game. The team’s performance was far from satisfactory, and they ended up at the bottom of the points table for the second time in three years.
While Virat Kohli faced immense pressure as captain due to his impending leadership role in the Cricket World Cup, he managed to score 464 runs during the season. This included a match-winning century and two half-centuries, making him the second player to reach the milestone of 5,000 runs in the IPL, following Suresh Raina.
Despite RCB’s struggles, many of their matches were closely contested, providing entertainment for their fans. Yet, at the end of the 12th season of the IPL, RCB remained among the original franchises that have not yet claimed the coveted IPL trophy.
The period from 2017 to 2019 was undoubtedly a challenging phase for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but as the IPL landscape evolved, they were determined to regroup and make a resurgence in the seasons to come.
2020: A Promising Start
Before the 2020 IPL season, RCB decided to make significant changes to their squad. They released several players, including Akshdeep Nath, Colin de Grandhomme, Dale Steyn, and Marcus Stoinis, among others. In the IPL auction, they made strategic additions with the likes of Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, and others, while also unveiling a new logo and jersey.
The season saw RCB achieve a significant milestone – qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Despite their playoff journey ending with a loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator, their overall performance showed great promise.
Devdutt Padikkal emerged as the team’s leading run-scorer, amassing 473 runs, closely followed by the captain, Virat Kohli, with 466 runs, and the ever-reliable AB de Villiers contributing 454 runs. In the bowling department, Yuzvendra Chahal led the way with 21 wickets, well-supported by Chris Morris and Mohammad Siraj, who both claimed 11 wickets each.
2021: Unfulfilled Hopes
Before the 2021 IPL season, RCB continued to restructure their squad by releasing players such as Chris Morris, Aaron Finch, and Dale Steyn. During the IPL Auction, they acquired Glenn Maxwell, among others, and bid farewell to the legendary AB de Villiers, who announced his retirement in November 2021.
The season was filled with high hopes, but ultimately, RCB found themselves in a familiar position, failing to secure the championship. They once again exited in the Eliminator, this time at the hands of the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Despite their title aspirations going unfulfilled, the season witnessed the emergence of Harshal Patel as a standout performer. He achieved a remarkable feat by finishing the season with 32 wickets, equalling the record for the highest number of wickets taken in a single IPL season, and winning the prestigious Purple Cap. Meanwhile, Glenn Maxwell became the top run-scorer for the team, amassing 513 runs, securing the fifth spot in the season’s run-scoring charts. Virat Kohli added another feather to his cap by becoming the first batter to reach 6,000 runs in the IPL during the season.
2022: New Beginnings and a Strong Finish
The year 2022 marked significant changes for RCB. Star batsman AB de Villiers announced his retirement in November 2021, and the team introduced a new captain, Faf du Plessis. Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Bangar assumed the role of head coach.
Before the IPL Mega Auction, RCB retained Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and Mohammad Siraj, laying the foundation for the season. During the auction, they secured a diverse pool of talents, including Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, and David Willey, among others.
The addition of two new teams expanded the IPL to a 10-team season. In this season, RCB finally managed to advance beyond the eliminator stage, breaking free from the shackles of previous years. However, they once again fell short of claiming the title, losing to the Rajasthan Royals in the Qualifier 2.
Under the leadership of Faf du Plessis, the team exhibited a determined spirit, with the captain emerging as the highest run-scorer for the season, amassing 468 runs. On the other hand, Virat Kohli’s 2022 season was less fruitful, as he scored 341 runs with an average of 22.73. Wanindu Hasaranga shone as the team’s leading wicket-taker, securing 26 wickets.
Looking Ahead to 2023
As RCB looks ahead to the 2023 season, the team continues to evolve and adapt. With strategic additions and a dynamic squad, they aim to build on their recent successes and contend for the elusive IPL championship.
Indian Premier League Season Standing
|Year||League standing||Final standing|
|2008||7th out of 8||League stage|
|2009||3rd out of 8||Runners-up|
|2010||4th out of 8||Playoffs|
|2011||1st out of 10||Runners-up|
|2012||5th out of 9||League stage|
|2013||5th out of 9|
|2014||7th out of 8|
|2015||3rd out of 8||Playoffs|
|2016||2nd out of 8||Runners-up|
|2017||8th out of 8||League stage|
|2018||6th out of 8|
|2019||8th out of 8|
|2020||4th out of 8||Playoffs|
|2021||3rd out of 8|
|2022||3rd out of 10|
|2023||6th out of 10||League stage|
|Opposition||Seasons||Matches||Won||Lost||Tied||No result||Success Rate|
|Chennai Super Kings||2008–2022||30||10||19||0||1||33.33%|
|Lucknow Super Giants||2022–2023||4||3||1||0||0||75.00%|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||2008–2023||32||14||18||0||0||43.75%|
|Kochi Tuskers Kerala||2011–2011||2||2||0||0||0||100.00%|
|Pune Warriors India||2011–2013||5||5||0||0||0||100%|
|Rising Pune Supergiant||2016–2017||3||2||1||0||0||66.67%|
|New South Wales Blues||2011||1||1||0||0||0||100.00%|
The brand value of Royal Challengers Bangalore soared over the years, reaching an estimated ₹595 crore (US$75 million) in 2019. This valuation, as assessed by Duff & Phelps, speaks to the team’s enduring popularity and commercial appeal.
Livery: Vijay Mallya’s decision to associate one of his best-selling liquor brands with the team led to the choice of the name “Royal Challenge,” cementing the brand’s connection with the world of cricket.
Logo: The team’s logo initially featured the RC emblem in yellow on a circular red base, with the black text “Royal Challengers Bangalore” encircling the logo. The RC crown emblem with the roaring lion atop the logo drew inspiration from the original Royal Challenge logo. While the logo’s design remained largely consistent, the color yellow was replaced with gold in 2009. Subsequent updates omitted the shield and enlarged the lion emblem in 2016. The most recent logo, unveiled in 2020, features a bigger lion and reintroduces the crown.
Jersey: The team’s jersey colors have seen various transformations over the years. It began with red and golden yellow in 2008, mirroring the unofficial Kannada flag. Yellow eventually gave way to gold in future seasons. Blue was introduced as a tertiary color in 2010. Notable changes include the prominence of blue over gold in 2014 and the transition to gold player names and numbers in 2014. 2016 saw black replacing blue as the tertiary color. Different jerseys for home and away matches were introduced from 2016 until 2019, but the concept was dropped in 2020. A darker shade of blue replaced black, and a completely redesigned jersey was introduced in 2022.
Tradition and Tribute: RCB’s tradition of replacing red with green in their kits for the “Game for Green” matches remains a fan favorite. In 2020, the team played a match with sky-blue replacing red on their kits as a tribute to COVID-19 frontline workers.
Kit Manufacturers: Reebok manufactured kits for RCB from 2008 to 2014, followed by Adidas in 2015. Zeven took over from 2016 to 2019, and Wrogn supplied the kits in 2020. Since 2021, Puma has become the official kit manufacturer.
A Rhythmic Anthem: Over the years, RCB’s theme songs have resonated with fans. The 2008 season featured “Jeetenge Hum Shaan Se,” while “Game for More” emerged in 2009, composed by Amit Trivedi. A new anthem, “Here We Go The Royal Challengers,” was introduced in 2013. In 2016, “Play Bold,” composed by Salim–Sulaiman, took center stage, and it continued to evolve in 2017 with Anand Bhaskar lending his voice in multiple languages.
Ambassadors: Over the years, RCB has had notable brand ambassadors, including Katrina Kaif in 2008, and later, Deepika Padukone, Ramya, Puneeth Rajkumar, Shiva Rajkumar, Upendra, and Ganesh. These celebrities have added to the glitz and glamour surrounding the team.
While the IPL trophy may have eluded them, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have carved a special place in the hearts of cricket enthusiasts. With their iconic branding, thrilling matches, and unwavering fan base, the RCB continues to be a vibrant force in the world of cricket.
|49||KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS||EDEN|
|70||CHENNAI SUPER KINGS||CHENNAI|
|70||RAJASTHAN ROYALS||ABU DHABI|
|AB DE VILLIERS||156||141||4491|
Royal Challengers Bangalore Current Squad
Shahbaz Ahmed, Finn Allen, Manoj Bhandage, Michael Bracewell, Akash Deep, Faf du Plessis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Josh Hazlewood, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Siddarth Kaul, Virat Kohli, Rajan Kumar, Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Wayne Parnell, Harshal Patel, Suyash Prabhudessai, Anuj Rawat, Karn Sharma, Himanshu Sharma, Avinash Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Sonu Yadav