Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to their senior players to finally boost them to a title victory © IANS
Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to their senior players to finally boost them to a title victory © IANS

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) enjoyed a productive Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 player auction. IPL 9 could see RCB go the distance given the strength of their team on paper. While they were already a strong batting side thanks to the presence of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Chris Gayle, the addition of Shane Watson has further boosted their batting. Watson’s inclusion has also given them another bowling option, something RCB needed desperately. RCB have been the perpetual bridesmaids of IPL, often reaching the playoffs but never winning the final. READ: IPL 2016 Auction Updates & Blog: Teams finalised for IPL 9

Batting: The RCB batting line-up is unarguably the most dangerous of the tournament on paper. The top four are likely to be Watson, Gayle, Kohli, and de Villiers, with the young Indian brigade of Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, and Sarfaraz Khan to follow. There is no question of the sheer destructive power of Gayle, and with Watson at the top RCB will finally have a settled opening combination; something they have lacked for a long time. Royal Challengers Bangalore team in IPL 2016 Auction Updates: Full list of players bought by RCB for IPL 9

Kohli is currently ranked at the No. 1 T20I batsman in the world, and on current form looks unstoppable. As for de Villiers, mere words cannot fully capture the extent of his genius. The good thing is that RCB have some reliable names lower down the order as well. Jadhav and Mandeep have tasted success in IPL before, and Sarfaraz is one of the brightest young talents in the domestic circuit. Stuart Binny is in the side as well, and he could be another crucial name lower down the order. There is also Travis Head in the mix, though it is unlikely that he will be picked unless one of the other foreign players gets injured. READ: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2016: Know your team

Bowling: Mitchell Starc leads the way here. The Australian speedster is one of the finest limited-overs bowlers in the world at present, but he also has a few injury concerns. He is expected to be fit by IPL 9, but if he is not then RCB’s bowling will look quite shaky. The other bowlers do not inspire a lot of confidence, though Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel did well in IPL 2015. Watson and Binny will play a part in the bowling attack as well, especially if Starc is not fit in time. The potential bowlers to replace Starc are Kane Richardson and Samuel Badree, neither of whom will have the same effect. Vikramjeet Malik, Iqbal Abdulla, and ambidextrous bowler Akshay Karnewar make up the fringe bowling. READ: IPL 2016 Royal Challengers Bangalore Team and Squad: List of players retained by RCB

Key players: In Gayle, Watson, Kohli, de Villiers, and Starc RCB have five international cricketers of the highest pedigree in the format. They will be expected to lead their side to the playoffs and beyond. Royal Challengers Bangalore team in IPL 2016 Auction Live Updates: Full list of players bought by RCB for IPL 9

Players to watch out for: Sarfaraz has been in prime form for India in the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup 2016, and will be keen to prove himself in the big league as well. Jadhav scored a century in his last international innings before being dropped from the side inexplicably. He will want to remind the Indian selectors that he is worthy of a recall.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) squad for IPL 2016: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Mitchell Starc, Adam Milne, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Akshay Karnewar, Iqbal Abdullah, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)