Royal Challengers Bangalore: The Story of RCB in the IPL

“Ee Sala Cup Namde”

Translated to English, it means, "This year, the cup is ours." But it's more than just a phrase; it's a feeling, a promise, and a symbol of unyielding hope. The hope that there is always the next year to fight for, the next year to live for, the hope that there’ll be someday that their team will be the champions. It’s the official slogan of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, one of the most followed teams in the Indian Premier League. The team whose poster boy is the face of cricket worldwide, Virat Kohli, has some of the best fan support for any team in any sport. They surely have everything to be one of the greatest franchises ever; the only thing missing for them is the prestigious IPL Trophy.

The RCB Team players gather and celebrate a wicket

Credit: The Times of India

So, in this article by ZAP, let’s dive deep and learn more about the Royal Challengers Bangalore, more commonly known as RCB, from memes and trolling to a story of continuous support and unconditional love. 

A Team with a Storied Past – RCB’s Owner:

The RCB Players of the 2008 IPL season pose for a photo with the then owner Vijay Mallya in the centre

Credit: Cricket Dawn

In 2008, the world of cricket was revolutionized after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) launched the Indian Premier League (IPL). Vijay Mallya, the then-owner of United Spirits beverage company, paid a whopping $111.6 M for the team. It was the second-highest bid, trailing just behind Reliance Industries' $111.9 million gamble on the Mumbai Indians. The name of the team came after the company’s main product, Royal Challenge, and that’s how this team was born. The company’s parent company has always been United Spirits, although Vijay Mallya was publicly acknowledged as the business's owner until 2016.

The Star-Studded Lineup:

RCB has always been a franchise stacked with superstars of the sport, from Virat Kohli to AB De Villiers and from Chris Gayle to Glenn Maxwell. Even in the 2008 IPL Auction, they roped in players like Jacques Kallis, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn and Cameron White, all superstar players during that time. The second round of the auction was where the most important player in the team, Virat Kohli, was signed. There’s an interesting story to this. Virat Kohli, who hailed from Delhi, had the eyes of Delhi Daredevils on him, but instead, they chose to go with the left-arm pacer, Pradeep Sangwan, and Virat went to Bangalore. And the rest, as we say……is history. 

RCB’s Performance through the years:

Despite always having a great squad stepping into the season, Bengaluru has always failed to take the final step. The Royal Challengers have come close to IPL glory three times, finishing as runners-up in 2009, 2011 and 2016. IN 2009, they lost to the Deccan Chargers, in 2011, they lost to MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings and in 2016 to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Even when they reach the playoffs, their performances have not been up to the level, and when they are, their luck just doesn’t play a part. They’re the biggest chokers in the league. 

The early years:

An RCB Batsman passes past the Deccan Chargers players celebrating the wicket in the background

Credit: ESPN Cricinfo

This was the inaugural season of the IPL, and the anticipation for the first match was at an all-time high, and the magic of the tournament delivered. The first match was played between two rivals, Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Kolkata Knight Riders (RCB vs. KKR), and it was a match that RCB fans will always want to forget. Batting first, KKR scored a whopping 222 in the 20 overs, with Brendon McCullum alone scoring 158 runs alone. The Bangalore side couldn’t even get to half the target score and got all out for a mere 82.  The tournament was one to forget for them, just like the opening match, winning only 4 out of the 14 games and finishing 7th in the points table. 

The 2009 IPL season, which was shifted to South Africa due to elections in India, was a comeback season for the franchise. Under the captaincy of Anil Kumble, they reached the finals in which they went against Adam Gilchrist’s Deccan Chargers. The match again didn’t go as planned, and Deccan Chargers won the tournament's second edition. 

Rise of Virat Kohli – Greatest RCB Captain:

Virat Kohli celebrates with a roar after scoring a century against Gujarat Lions in the 2016 IPL

Credit: ESPN Cricinfo

Even though RCB had some of the biggest cricket stars, they didn’t receive fan support until Virat Kohli stepped into the picture. The turning point came when Virat Kohli became the franchise's captain and the face of the team. His batting and captaincy caused the team’s fortunes to change. Fans now had new optimism thanks to Kohli's unwavering dedication and superb batting. He promised the fans that someday his team would bring the coveted IPL trophy to their city, which fans deeply supported, and this is when the iconic chant, Ee Sala Cup Namde, was born. Now, It wasn't just about winning the trophy but about fulfilling a promise made to the city and its people.

The team’s best season was in 2016, when the team, who was once in the 7th position halfway through the season, reached the final. The team had a sense of optimism that this could be the year. The season had seen the King shatter all batting records, scoring 4 magnificent hundreds, the most centuries in a single IPL season, and scoring 973, the most runs in a single season. All players had some amazing performances, with AB De Villiers’s performance against the Gujarat Lions in the qualifier 2 being the best among all. In the final match, RCB vs. SRH, Hyderabad set a target of 209. Bangalore was well on pace to chase it down, and the dream now looked real. Virat and Gayle scored more than a hundred runs before the 10th over without losing a wicket in the run chase. Then the unthought happened, a batting collapse, and Bengaluru was done and dusted at just 200. The images of Kohli and company holding back their tears can easily give anyone chills. 

RCB’s home ground – The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore:

A panoramic photo of the Chinnaswamy Ground - The Homeground of the Royal Challengers Bangalore

Credit: IPL

The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore is magical; it is one of the main reasons why RCB plays in an all-or-nothing fashion. The ground has smaller boundaries than all the other traditional cricket grounds and the pitch that is a batsman's paradise, and this has always helped the batting-dominated lineups of the royal challengers. Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, and now Faf Du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell have made six hitting look effortless. Shorter boundaries and a batting-friendly pitch make it a graveyard for bowlers. That’s the reason why Royal Challengers always have a strong batting lineup over bowling, and they always struggle in the bowling department in both home and away games. 

RCB Logo:

The RCB Logo

Credit: Wikimedia Images

The Bangalore Team’s logo is one of the most iconic in the league. Earlier, it was just an extension of the owner’s Royal Challenge brand, but now it has become an identity of the city. The lion in the logo stands for power and a never-ending pursuit of triumph with its eyes fixed forward. The lion and cricket ball are linked to represent teamwork, while red represents desire and gold represents glory. The RCB logo transcends cricket to serve as a cultural symbol that unites diverse supporters and is proudly celebrated in regional art forms and on goods and banners.

RCB Jersey:

Virat Kohli poses in the RCB Jersey

Over the years, the jersey designs for the Royal Challengers Bangalore RCB team have seen a vibrant evolution. In 2008, they sported red and golden yellow jerseys to resemble the unofficial Kannada flag. The colours have changed over the year, from red and yellow to introduction of gold, blue and later black. The contrast between gold and black and the golden player names also make it a fashion statement. The team also occasionally replaces red with green for their "Game for Green" matches and wore sky-blue jerseys in 2020 to honor COVID-19 frontline workers. RCB Jersey makers have Reebok, Adidas, Zeven, Wrogn, but now it is Puma, which Kohli is a brand ambassador for. 

RCB’S Iconic Rivalries against IPL Teams:

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings (RCB vs. CSK)

MS Dhoni and Faf Du Plessis, the captains of CSK and RCB respectively indulge in a talk before the CSK vs RCB match

Credit: Sportstar - The Hindu

CSK and RCB are the most famous and interesting rivalry, two teams where two dear friends MS Dhoni and Kohli, turn rivals. Both teams have huge fan bases which makes more demand for this match. 30 games have been played between them, with CSK winning 19 games while RCB only managed to win 10. There is no question that CSK wins by a significant margin if we look at the overall statistics of the matchup between these two teams.

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians (RCB vs MI)

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli hug each other in the MI vs RCB IPL match

Credit: The Times of India

Mumbai Indians vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore has to be one of the biggest and flashiest rivalries in the league. This is not just a match between two team, but two huge cities Mumbai and Bangalore. The two teams have produced some of the best matches the league has ever seen thanks to their star-studded lineups. Mumbai Indians have won 19 and Royal Challengers have won 13 of the 32 matches so far.

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders (RCB vs KKR)

RCB Captain tosses the coin with Nitish Rana taking the call in the RCB vs KKR IPL Match

Credit: The Quint

This was the first ever match that was played in the league, and we all know how it turned out. And ever since, the Bengaluru fans have been bitter about that loss, which has added to the rivalry. The two teams are a delight to witness at the pinnacle of the game, whether it be in routine league encounters, which are honestly never routine, or high-profile playoff contests. In 32 IPL games, Bangalore and Kolkata have faced off, Bangalore has triumphed in 14 while Kolkata has won 18 of them.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Legends:

This franchise has had some superstars like Bredon McCullum, KL Rahul, Shane Watson, Tim Southee have played for the franchise, but some player have had a different level of impact on the team and its fans. Virat Kohli, undoubtedly is the GOAT player of the franchise. We have already talked about him. Here are some of the other legends of this franchise:

Chris Gayle:

Chris Gayle Celebrates his century in the iconic Siiiuuuu celebration by Ronaldo

Credit: ZEE News

Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss joined RCB from Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011 and instantly became one of the most critical player for the team. He was loved for his explosive batting style and in his first-ever season he scored 608 runs and won the orange cap, carrying his team to the IPL final of that season. He consistently delivered exceptional performances, including his record-breaking 175 not out in 2013, one of the greatest T20 knocks ever. Beyond his cricketing ability, Gayle's charisma and on-field antics made him a fan favourite, making him an iconic presence for the franchise and a true RCB legend.

AB de Villiers:

AB de Villiers celebrates by raising his bat after playing a magical innings against Gujarat Lions in the 2016 IPL Qualifier 2

Credit: Hindustan Times

AB de Villiers, also known as the Superman of the field could do it all. He could play blistering knocks, take impossible catches and even lead the team on certain occasions. His friendship with Virat is what every fans loved. His impact on the team cannot be put into words. Nicknamed "Mr. 360" for his ability to play cricket shots all around the ground, De Villiers consistently left spectators awestruck with his breathtaking innings. His innovative strokeplay and unmatched skill in high-pressure situations made him RCB's go-to man. Beyond his on-field heroics, his sportsmanship and dedication earned him the adoration of fans, solidifying his status as an RCB legend and one of the IPL's all-time greats.

Yuzvendra Chahal:

Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates a wicket by roaring up towards the sky

Credit: News Live

In a team, where bowling was always meant leaking runs, Yuzvendra Chahal stood tall as one of the league’s best bowlers in the years he played for RCB. With his clever leg spin, he picked up 139 wickets in only 114 games for the team. But what makes Chahal a truly special player is his positive attitude and his unwavering loyalty to the Chinnaswamy. When the team decided to part ways, it was like one of the worst breakups in cricket. But nonetheless, the highest wicket taker will always remain one of the best RCBians. 

RCB Women's Team:

BCCI in 2023 launched the Women’s Premier League (WPL) to support the growth of women’s cricket. Diageo, the owners of the men’s side also bought the rights to the women’s side and got in some exciting female superstars. Smriti Mandhana was named captain of the side and the team had players like Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, and Heather Knight. In the first edition of the 5-team tournament, RCB Women’s had a disappointing start, finishing 4 in the league table. 

RCB Records:

  • Highest team total: 263/5 vs Pune Warriors India in 2013
  • Highest individual score: 175* by Chris Gayle vs Pune Warriors India in 2013
  • Most IPL matches for the same franchise: Virat Kohli (200+ matches for RCB)
  • Lowest team total: 49 vs Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017
  • Most runs for a single team in IPL: Virat Kohli
  • Highest partnership in IPL: AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli (229 runs vs Gujarat Lions in 2016)
  • Most runs as Captain in the IPL: Virat Kohli for Bangalore


Through the relentless trolling and a barrage of memes, RCB has remained the OG of the IPL, fueled by unwavering support from its passionate fan base. The tag of "biggest chokers" may sting, but the 12th man of Bengaluru stands undeterred, cheering relentlessly. The 2023 season too, was a disappointment, but there’s always the next year to win it. So with Ee Sala Cup Namde, let’s keep the RCB flag flying high. 

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