Chris Gayle reserved his best for the IPL 9 final © AFP
Chris Gayle reserved his best for the IPL 9 final © AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) did everything they could to chase down the target of 209, set by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the final of the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016. A batting-heavy side that RCB is, needed its batsmen to fire in tandem and in hindsight, the cruel T20 format got the better of them. RCB fell short by mere 8 runs — which shows it could have been anyone’s game. Both Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) were the deserving winners in IPL 9, but the latter kept their nerves in check to register a historic narrow win. Full Cricket Scorecard: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016 Final

Even though Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lost the match by a narrow margin, their batsmen displayed supreme approach while chasing a target in excess of 200, and that too in the final of a tournament as grand as the IPL. ALSO READ: SRH win IPL 2016 Final against RCB by 8 runs

It is likely that the other teams would have given up the very idea of successfully chasing 209, but it was the belief that was rampant in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) which helped them get closer to victory. Their captain Virat Kohli kept speaking about the approach his side had in IPL as well as the mindset, and to look back and see Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lost by only 8 runs, proved that the team was a deserving winner.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is studded with stroke-makers. In Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Kohli and KL Rahul, they had a terrific batting in IPL that could win those games all by itself. But potential is one thing and performance is another, and in the IPL 9 final, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) showed the T20 fraternity how it can be done.

When RCB began their chase, it was Gayle to took the attack from the opposition, and from the other hand, it did not feel like Kohli was there at the crease. By the time Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) crossed the 100-run mark, Kohli had reached mere 20 not out off as many balls, with Gayle doing all the scoring for their side.

And then Gayle was dismissed, Kohli opened up and it looked like he was always there, playing in the manner in which he always did. He finished with yet another half-century — scoring 54 and taking his runs tally in IPL 9 to a mind-boggling 973 — to lift Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) even further in their chase.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) looked cruising towards their maiden IPL title but twin strikes derailed them. Kohli and de Villiers fell in quick succession, and that is where the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lost the IPL final, and not with their bowling, as it could be a perception. If Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) scored more than 200 runs, they also gave away as many, which means, their bowling was not drastically different with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were simply terrific in their chase, as scoring more than 200 in a tournament final does not look pretty easy, even if a team has some of the best batsmen from around the world. What is important is execution of their skills with complete assessment of the situation, and this is where Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) laid down the blueprint.

When Gayle was firing, Kohli was happy to play the second fiddle. When Gayle was dismissed, Kohli took over the charge of leading the charge. But when Kohli fell, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) needed de Villiers to carry on is job, which he could not.

The lesson that RCB provided in the IPL final — despite falling agonisingly short — is simple. Teams chasing massive totals need to be calm, and their batsmen need not fire from both ends. Preserving wickets remain the key across formats, and the idea is to take calculated risks, which RCB did but probably had an unlucky day.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

SRH win IPL 2016 Final against RCB by 8 runs