In their quest of lifting maiden IPL trophy this year, Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) suffered a thumping six-wicket defeat against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Friday. In the Eliminator at Abu Dhabi, the David Warner-led side outclassed RCB in every department to halt their trail to the final of the tournament.
After being put to bat first, the RCB batting unit failed to deliver when it mattered. Skipper Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal departed early as RCB lost wickets in quick succession. Aaron Finch (32) and AB de Villiers (56) were the only players who managed to stick in the middle for a prolonged period. RCB ultimately managed to post a meagre 131-run total on the board which was never enough to mount pressure on SRH's batting unit.
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Despite Warner's early departure, the Hyderabad side, led by Kane Williamson's gritty half-century, hunted down the total with a delivery to spare. Jason Holder slammed the winning boundary as SRH booked a place in the second Qualifier against Delhi Capitals (DC).
While wishes poured in for the Orange Army, fans lambasted RCB for yet another failure. Since the inception of the IPL, the Bangalore franchise has failed to clinch the silverware. After finishing fourth this year, fans were hopeful of witnessing unpreceedented celebrations. However, to their disappointment, RCB's campaign ended on a woeful note. They lost five consecutive matches to end their UAE journey.
Following RCB's heartbreaking defeat and a below-par performance, fans even started questioning Kohli's captaincy. Though the RCB skipper has been an integral pillar of their batting unit, his success as the captain has been a disappointment, especially in the past four years. RCB have finished on the bottom position on two occasions (2016 and 2019) in the last four editions. Despite achieving a top-four finish this year, Kohli and Co failed to put up a convincing performance in the playoffs, leading to fans asking for a change in captaincy.
Many fans voiced their opinion over Kohli's leadership and asked the team management to look for another option. According to several fans, Kohli should concentrate on his batting and let any other player don the captaincy hat.
"Similar conditions for everyone and that's the reason this has been one of the competitive IPL this year. It was amazing to have had this opportunity to come out and play. There's a bigger picture going around here and we are all contributing to that. To all our fans who have supported us like every year, we just want to thank them," said Kohli after the defeat.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir also pointed out Kohli's dismal captaincy record in the league. While MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma have managed to win multiple IPL trophies, Kohli is yet to lay his hands on the coveted prize.
Kohli has been facing the heat of fans since RCB's underwhelming performance at Abu Dhabi. He had a remarkable season with the bat as he managed to score 466 runs in 15 games at an impressive average of 42.36. However, fans believe that his captaincy has been amiss since taking the charge eight years ago.