New Delhi: Royal Challengers Bangalore go into the sixth edition of the IPL as one of the tournament's powerhouses due to their batting strength. In their ranks are two of the most dangerous T20 batsmen in the world right now: Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. Apart from these two, RCB also have Virat Kohli, the captain, and Tillakaratne Dilshan, and both can be very dangerous on their day.
However, RCB's bowling is a bit of a worry as it simply doesn't match up to their batting. Zaheer Khan, out of the Indian team right now on account of poor form, will spearhead the attack. RCB bought West Indies' pace bowler Ravi Rampaul and RP Singh in the February auction but they are not the names one would expect much from. Daniel Vettori and veteran Sri Lankan wizard Muttiah Muralitharan make up the spin department but they too are past their prime. The trouble with the team's bowling is that there is not one name that inspires confidence and security.
RCB's performance in the past five editions has been pretty mixed. They finished runners-up twice in 2009 and 201 and finished third in 2010. Their worst run was in the inaugural season in 2008 when they ended seventh among eight teams. Last year again, they were not at their best and finished fifth among nine teams.
So the big question is: can RCB go all the way this time? They don't have a balanced side and that makes one doubtful. However, in the past we have seen that the tournament has been won by much lesser teams, so anything can happen. Batting is their biggest bet and if Gayle and de Villiers do consistently what they can do with the bat, the team surely has a chance.
Key players: Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Muttiah Muralitharan
Players Retained: AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Saurabh Tiwary, Andrew McDonald, Mayank Agarwal, R Vinay Kumar, Daniel Vettori, Sreenath Aravind, Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan, KP Appanna, Chris Gayle, Harshal Patel, Karun Nair, Muttiah Muralitharan, J Syed Mohammed, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vijay Zol, Arun Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara
Players Dropped: Raju Bhatkal, Rilee Rossouw, Charl Langeveldt, S Thiyagarajan, Mohammad Kaif, CM Gautam, Luke Pomersbach, Asad Pathan, Dirk Nannes, Ryan Ninan, Abrar Kazi
Players Bought: RP Singh ($400,000), Moises Henriques ($300,000), Jaydev Unadkat ($525,000), Pankaj Singh ($150,000), Ravi Rampaul ($290,000), Christopher Barnwell ($50,000), Dan Christian ($100,000)
Foreign Players: AB de Villiers, Andrew McDonald, Chris Gayle, Christopher Barnwell, Daniel Christian, Daniel Vettori, Moises Henriques, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravi Rampaul, Tillakaratne Dilshan
Domestic players: Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Arun Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harshal Patel, Jaidev Unadkat, KP Appanna, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Murali Kartik, Pankaj Singh, Prasanth Parameswaran, R Vinay Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Sreenath Aravind, Sandeep Warrier, Saurabh Tiwary, Sheldon Jackson, Sunny Sohal, J Syed Mohammad, Vijay Zol, Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan.