IPL 2019, RCB vs DC: Will Bangalore fans forgive another defeat?
Late on Friday night, Chinnaswamy Stadium wore a funereal look. A scattering of people milled around the gates aimlessly, no one crowded the players’ exit, there was no rush to book app cabs, not even the mindless blaring of horns bought on the way to the stadium. MG Road, that lines the stadium, did not have a single vendor peddling imitation RCB shirts.
‘Dre Russ’ does that to you. Such was the impact of the shock-and-awe style pounding by Andre Russell that even RCB’s official Twitter handle retired for the day after simply tweeting ‘speechless’. Their fans however, found their voices after some time. No player, not even Virat Kohli, was spared the trolling. ‘IPL should ban RCB,’ tweeted one. ‘Or they should remove Bangalore name from RCB,’ tweeted another. Advice ranged from asking Kohli to step down to dissolving the team.
Right now, no one is more despondent in IPL than an RCB fan. They have unquestionable loyalty, considering this is one of the worst faring teams of all time, but subjecting them to five losses in a row could be stretching it too far. Anymore and they could just walk away.
A sizeable portion of the RCB fanbase is made up of entrepreneurs, MNC managers, and techies. To them, Kohli is a successful brand that they are ready to invest in emotionally as a cricket fan. Watching his team lose miserably is not what they have signed up for, not at least with the kind of money they splurge on getting the stadium experience. Among all the IPL venues across the country, Bengaluru provides some of the best spectator facilities, and they don’t come cheap.
It is for these fans that Royal Challengers Bangalore need to turn around. It won’t be easy, not with Kohli at his wits’ end. “If we bowl like that, we don’t show composure in pressure moments, we deserve to be where we are in the table,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
No amount of practice or sweating out can do the required course correction for RCB. It’s all in the head, and Kohli needs a way to address it quickly before the Sunday showdown against Delhi Capitals. “(Don’t think) talking enough helps all the time, you just need to give the guys a little bit of space, try to come back stronger in the next game, try to get on a roll on a winning note,” Kohli said. “It’s been a difficult season for us so far but we’re still optimistic about our chances and we just have to believe that we can turn things around.”