RCB Vs RR, IPL 2024 Eliminator: Bengaluru's Five Most Heartbreaking Play-Off Defeats

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's wait for their maiden Indian Premier League trophy grew longer with the four-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals in the 2024 Eliminator. Let us look back at five of the most painful play-off defeats that RCB have had to endure, over the years

RR vs RCB, IPL 2024 Eliminator, BCCI photo
Royal Challengers Bengaluru players after the team's defeat to Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League 2024 Eliminator in Ahmedabad. Photo: BCCI/IPL

It was the familiar case of so near, yet so far once again for Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Indian Premier League 2024. Despite a valiant effort on the night, Faf du Plessis' team lost to Rajasthan Royals by four wickets in the Eliminator at Ahmedabad to crash out after a truly memorable late surge in the league phase, where they won six matches on the trot to enter the play-offs. (As It Happened | Scorecard)

While fans will cherish RCB's incredible comeback campaign for posterity, they will also be left wondering what could have been. The franchise that is yet to lay its hands on the coveted IPL trophy has presented heartbreak moments galore to its supporters, and Wednesday night (May 22) added another chapter to their litany of narrow, crunch-match woes.

Let us look back at five of the most painful play-off defeats (in addition to the one in IPL 2024) that RCB have had to endure, over the years.

2022: Qualifier 2 Against Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals, the same team that dashed RCB's hopes in the Eliminator on Wednesday night, was responsible for inflicting the Challengers' previous play-off loss too. The Qualifier 2 of IPL 2022 in Ahmedabad saw injured India seamer Prasidh Krishna and West Indian left-arm pacer Obed McCoy pick up three wickets apiece to restrict the Bengaluru franchise to a sub-par total of 157 for 8.

Jos Buttler then smashed an unbeaten century (106 not out off 60 balls) as RR got to the target with seven wickets and 11 balls to spare.

2021: Eliminator Against Kolkata Knight Riders

In the Covid-stricken year of 2021, Sharjah played host to the Eliminator between Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers. A low-scoring thriller ensued, with RCB scoring 138/7 and then making KKR sweat to get past them. But the brilliance of Sunil Narine shone through with bat and ball (4/21 and 26 off 15 balls), as Kolkata romped home with four wickets in hand. The match was also Virat Kohli's last one as RCB skipper.

2016: Final Against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Though from eight years back, this is the defeat that perhaps hurts the franchise's fans the most. Riding on a strong league phase, which saw Virat Kohli smash four centuries amid the purplest patch of his IPL career, RCB walked into the final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium high on confidence. It was dented in no time, however, by David Warner and Ben Cutting's pyrotechnics.

Chasing a massive target of 209, Chris Gayle and Virat gave the hosts a solid start, wiping 114 runs off in just 10.3 overs. But SRH's bowlers delivered in the middle and death overs to leave the Challengers eight runs short, in what was perhaps the latter's best chance to claim the title.

2020: Eliminator Against Sunrisers Hyderabad

The Royal Challengers' first-ever Eliminator loss came in 2020, in a low-scoring game against SRH. RCB hobbled their way to 131/7 in Abu Dhabi, with former Windies Test captain Jason Holder picking up three wickets and conceding just 25 runs off his four-over quota. The Sunrisers too stuttered in response, but Holder joined forces with another former Test skipper Kane Williamson to see them over the line in the last over, with six wickets intact.

2015: Qualifier 2 Against Chennai Super Kings

A sluggish pitch in Ranchi greeted familiar foes RCB and Chennai Super Kings in the Qualifier 2 of IPL 2015. An Ashish Nehra-led CSK bowling restricted Bangalore to a total of 139 runs in the first innings. Michael Hussey then anchored Chennai's chase and despite a late flurry of wickets, the Yellow Army scrambled home with three wickets and one ball to spare.