Royal Challengers Bangalore had a disastrous start to their IPL 2019 season when they lost six consecutive games. The team’s over-reliance on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers hurt them and heavy losses to Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the start of the season dented their net run-rate also badly. However, in the second half of the season, Royal Challengers Bangalore put in a solid performance and won five out of the eight games while one match ended in a no-result. In their last game of the season, Royal Challengers Bangalore hurt Sunrisers Hyderabad’s playoff chances by beating them by four wickets and it gave their fans something to cheer.
Speaking in the post-match presentation, skipper Kohli said the way the team played in the second half is exactly how they should have played in the first half. “If we focus on the second half, it is exactly what we wanted in the first half. After losing your first six matches, it is very difficult to come back in a tournament like IPL. We have a lot to learn from this season,” Kohli said.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fightback in the second half ensured they did not end up with the wooden spoon but the team did not qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive year, having last featured in the final in 2016 where they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. “We haven't finished in the position that we wanted to. But because the second half has been so good it doesn't feel like a bad season. We won last 5 off our 7 matches and with one no-result, it is something that we can be proud of. It is such a short format that often 5 or 7 minutes decide the outcome,” Kohli said.
Shimron Hetmyer and Gurkeerat Singh Mann shared a 144-run stand for the fourth wicket, which is the highest in IPL history and it put Royal Challengers Bangalore on the path to victory after Kohli, de Villiers and Parthiv Patel fell cheaply. Both slammed half-centuries and Kohli praised the effort of the duo as well as the crowd for backing them at tough times.
“We know Hetmyer can play like that. We would like Hetty to play like he did today next year. And Gurkeerat played really mature innings. He has a keen eye for the game. We are so thankful and so grateful to have fans like you all. I can certainly feel your pain. I am emotionally attached to this team like all of you. And next year we will definitely improve our performance and give you guys what you deserve in return. Thanks again for coming out in huge numbers. You are the best fans in the IPL,” Kohli said.
Sunrisers Hyderabad will be hoping that Mumbai Indians beat Kolkata Knight Riders for them to go through. If Kolkata Knight Riders win, they knock Sunrisers Hyderabad out of the playoff race.