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It's written in the stars, RCB are winning the IPL

Rub of the green, invisible heroes, plants in rival teams... is it too early to say "Ee Sala Cup Namde"?

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
That winning feeling! Virat Kohli may well be celebrating an IPL title in a few days. Or not.  •  BCCI

That winning feeling! Virat Kohli may well be celebrating an IPL title in a few days. Or not.  •  BCCI

Forget the role clarity. Never mind the death bowling of Harshal Patel and death batting of Dinesh Karthik. Leave aside Wanindu Hasaranga in the middle overs. If you are a Royal Challengers Bangalore fan and believe in signs, you are probably already playing "Ee Sala Cup Namde" at wedding celebrations. For it looks destined right now that this is Royal Challengers' year. You probably know more signs than us, but here are a few that are staring us right in the face.
If you haven't noticed these, you either don't follow IPL or are just trying to be a hipster by following only teams that have no connect with the geographical units they claim to represent: Rajasthan Royals or Punjab Kings or whatever their name was last week or Delhi Capitals.
You probably get nightmares of the marginal calls gone against your team or that erroneous short run that you believe ended up costing you a playoffs spot, but this year the rub of the green has been on Royal Challengers' side. Remember the second ball Karthik faced in the Eliminator? Looked gone for a duck. Not given. Saved by an umpire's call on the review.
Who will forget Rishabh Pant, so trigger happy on most days with DRS requests, being conservative in a match that Royal Challengers desperately needed Mumbai Indians to win against Capitals?
All these marginal calls are going against Royal Challengers' rivals elsewhere. Capitals' Rovman Powell not getting the no-ball, for example. Gujarat Titans' Matthew Wade hitting the leather off the ball only for Ultra Edge to not show a sound signature. With some luck, we might even have a year when Royal Challengers don't demand for an aspect of decision-making to be taken away from the umpires.
They are dropping your match-winners
Both Rajat Patidar and Karthik were dropped when the partnership was hardly past 10: in the end they end up with 92 in 41 balls.
Also before we let Pant go, he dropped Karthik on five in the league game against Royal Challengers only for Karthik to score 66 off 34 that buried Capitals.
Speaking of match-winners
Shouldn't they be Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli? Between them, Maxwell and Kohli have played three innings of 40 or more at a strike rate above 140. du Plessis last had such a big impact on May 8. It's the others who have been carrying them. You would think with two matches remaining the big three are due according to the law of averages.
What are the odds?
Patidar was supposed to be getting married during this IPL. It was only an injury to young Luvnith Sisodia - an event so unremarkable that the IPL release doesn't even mention what injury - that brought Patidar in as replacement after Royal Challengers had let him go. He spent more than 20 days on the bench, and came in only when others played them out of contention. Now he won you the Eliminator with his first century in T20 cricket.
Plants in rival teams
If Patidar is an example of a lost soul finding its way back, another lost soul helped them from the outside. Tim David was part of Royal Challengers last year but they made not a single bid for him at the auction table this year. Only for David to score 34 off 11 in Mumbai's final league match to make sure Capitals finished below Royal Challengers.
The invisible hero
Starting 2016, only Mumbai have been able win the IPL without Karn Sharma in their squad even though Karn has played only four matches in the playoffs. That's four titles in four playoff matches, one with Sunrisers Hyderabad, one with Mumbai, two with Chennai Super Kings. In one of the title runs, he didn't play a single game.
If you think all of Royal Challengers' calls at the auction table have worked only in a circuitous way, you have another thing coming. They managed themselves a steal deal this year: Karn Sharma at the base price of INR 50 lakh.
The captain
The last time a team won the IPL from outside the top two, it was an overseas captain leading them. du Plessis is the only overseas captain in the playoffs this year. Okay now we are taking it too far but you get the drift. Ee Sala Cup Namde

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo