Beaten finalists last year, the Rajasthan Royals began the 2023 season of the Indian Premier League winning four of their opening five matches. However, they since lost six of their next eight games. The turnaround has been remarkable and it left their captain Sanju Samson scratching his head, searching for answers on Sunday. It proved to be the lowest point of RR’s season this year as the Jaipur team folded for the third-lowest total in IPL history against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Chasing 172 for a win that would have strengthened their case, Samson and Co were bowled out for just 59 in front of their home fans. The season has unravelled for the men in pink. “That’s a great question,” Samson said when asked why. “I was just thinking seeing the batting collapse where we went wrong? I don’t think I have an answer, sorry.”

Surprisingly, RR and RCB have been involved in all three of the lowest totals in IPL history when the match hasn’t been curtailed by poor weather (completed innings, all out).

Here’s a look at the three lowest totals in IPL history:

RCB: 49/10 in 9.4 overs vs KKR on 23 April, 2017

The infamous 49 remains untouched in the league. Probably the worst batting performance by an IPL team, RCB folded for just 49 runs inside 10 overs while chasing the Kolkata Knight Riders’s modest total of 131 at Eden Gardens. Despite featuring star batters like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, none in the RCB lineup could get to double figures in the chase.

KKR captain Gautam Gambhir did not even have to call on the services of the wily spinner Sunil Narine as the pace battery of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme got the job done in some style.

“Our worst batting performance,” captain Kohli said after the loss. “It really hurts. After the kind of half that we had, we thought we could capitalise and chase it down. Reckless batting, I can’t say anything at the moment. It was that bad. This is just not acceptable.”

More recently though, Kohli summed it up in an impromptu poem he wrote for the RCB Insider show: “Fulfill your desire, ignite the fire. Bat through the tough times, sometimes it’s 263 sometimes 49. Life can put you in a pickle, laugh through like it’s a tickle. Whether you get a hundred or a duck, life goes on don’t get stuck. There is no map ride the tide, you are your own guide.”

Watch the highlights here

RR: 58/10 in 15.1 overs vs RCB on 18 April, 2009

Rajasthan Royals title defence in 2009 couldn’t have gotten to a worse possible start as Shane Warne’s side sunk to the lowest IPL score, at the time, in their first match of the season that was played in South Africa.

On a tough pitch in Cape Town, RCB managed to get to 133/8 in the first innings thanks to Rahul Dravid’s 48-ball 66 and Robin Uthappa’s 30-ball 32. No other RCB batter scored more than nine runs.

What should have been a close match turned out to be a rout as RCB scuttled RR for 58 runs in 16 overs. Tyron Henderson, Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja were the top-scorers for RR with 11 runs with extra’s the next-highest run-getter with nine runs.

Anil Kumble picked up a five-wicket haul. “The Twenty20 game may not be for the oldies but as Sachin and Rahul also showed, we can have our days too,” Kumble wrote back then.

Watch the highlights here

RR 59/10 in 10.3 overs vs RCB on 14 May, 2023

In an important match for both sides chasing a playoff spot, Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell hit 50s to propel RCB to 171/5 in their 20 overs. Anuj Rawat’s cameo was critical too.

RR never got going in their chase as the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler (both for 0) and captain Sanju Samson fell in the first two overs to peg RR back. Four batters were out for a duck, including Ravichandran Ashwin, who was run out for zero without facing a single delivery. The Jaipur side never recovered from the early setbacks. Only Shimron Hetmyer really got going as he scored a 19-ball 35 as RR were bowled out for 59. In fact, but for Hetmyer, the 49 was in real danger.

Wayne Parnell, who was signed as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood, picked up the player of the match award for his 3/10 in three overs.

“I think our top three were scoring a lot of runs, we go hard in the powerplay but it didn’t come out today. It’s too soon to analyze or dissect the game,” Samson said after the match. “You need to go hard in the powerplay knowing the ball was getting slower and older, that’s the way me, (Yashasvi) Jaiswal and Jos (Buttler) have played throughout.”

Watch the highlights here