Indian skipper Virat Kohli has won at everything. Beginning with his U-19 World Cup triumph back in 2008 to winning the World Cup in 2011 when he was only 22 years old. He is also only the first captain to lead his side to a Test series win in Australia and he is the only player to win 2 Player of the tournament awards in World T20 events. Apart from that, multiple awards from Indian government and various other entities show that he has been a winner in life undoubtedly.
However, there has been one thing which has always eluded in this 12 years long journey and it has been the IPL trophy. He has come close to winning it four times in 2009, 2011, 2015 & 2016 but every time, the quest ended in a disappointment. His own journey as an individual player has been stupendous when it comes to IPL. With 5412 runs, he is the leading run scorer in IPL which you expect from a batsman of his caliber but despite all his individual brilliance, he is yet to fulfill his dream of winning the IPL.
2009 : Too near yet so far
2009 IPL final is the closest of all finals RCB lost in all these years when it comes to margin as Deccan Chargers (Hyderabad based franchise) edged past them in a close encounter by only 6 runs. RCB was chasing only 144 and with all the batting powerhouses up their rank, one would’ve considered them favourites at half way stage but when Kohli got out on 7, RCB needed 45 runs from 33 balls with just 4 wickets left. It was by no means an easy task for the lower order but by no means very difficult either. RCB lost the match by 6 runs and that was just the beginning of all the disappointments.
2011 : Blown away in the final
If there was one instance when RCB were outplayed in the big final, it was this. CSK blew away RCB after batting first making sure RCB had very little chance when they came to chase. Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay scored 159 runs for the first wicket inside 15 overs and the match was done for good only then.
In pursuit of the trophy, Kohli was the second highest run scorer in the final but in vain as RCB capitulated in yet another final.
2016 : A very realistic chance went by
If you’d ask anyone which was RCB’s best chance of winning an IPL final, most of them would say it was 2009 but even in the 2016 final, they came very close to winning and the chance slipped by. Chasing 209 was never easy in a big final against a bowling heavy SRH team but if there was a team who could’ve made it possible, it was going to be RCB.
It looked like they were on course too when they needed 69 runs from 44 balls with 9 wickets in hands. In today’s day and age, this doesn’t look like a bothering requirement for lots of teams but then RCB let this realistic chance slip too as they lost the game by 8 runs.
2015 : Extremely unlucky
Out of all the chances Virat Kohli’s side has missed, they would consider themselves extremely unlucky to not being able to lift the trophy in 2015 even if they didn’t reach the final. They had a great team who was playing flawless cricket but they missed out on 2 points due to rain which is why they failed to finish in top 2 despite having a better net run rate than Mumbai Indians who actually went on winning the trophy.
After 2016 though, RCB has not even come close to holding the trophy. They failed to qualify for the playoffs in last 3 seasons and finished at bottom of the table in 2019. A lot of the blame must go to RCB’s team management which didn’t help their cause by picking some risky player in the mega auction held in 2018 who later didn’t prove their worth. They have been a team which has always been plagued by lack of game changing bowlers and the woes continued even after the mega auction.
And it isn’t just limited to having bad auctions, Kohli as a leader has always been up there, leading from the front and inspiring his troops but Kohli as strategist which is also an integral part of captaincy, has struggled in all these years of his IPL captaincy. There has been occasions when he didn’t give the players enough games to prove their worth after RCB management paying heavy price to afford them.
Saying all that, it is not easy to back players and take correct decisions when the results are not going your way. You’re ought to get frustrated and look for changes which will actually work and that’s exactly what happens with Kohli in IPL as a captain.
Even after completing 12 years in international cricket, it’s the Indian premier League which has been giving a lot to pain to Virat and will there be a change in luck and outcomes for RCB with the change in venue and change in IPL sponsors, only time will give the correct answer.