IPL 2022 Auction: Royal Challengers Bangalore. The franchise provides the same sense of thrill and unpredictability at the auction table as they do on the cricket field. And the IPL 2022 Mega Auction was no different.

RCB entered this auction off the back of two promising seasons in 2020 and 2021 respectively, with both campaigns raising hopes among the passionate fanbase that the elusive title is not too far away. Questions were rife on who would join Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and Mohammed Siraj ahead of the 2022 season, and whether RCB can build the balanced team that has eluded them over the years.

At the end of the blockbuster auction over the two days, some of the same mistakes have resurfaced. RCB are no strangers to landing the biggest names in T20 cricket, but how well they gel together is an element of RCB’s strategy that has cost them over the years.

In this article, we’ll look at RCB’s auction performance in terms of its key strengths and weaknesses, and what is needed to mount a serious title challenge in 2022.

IPL 2022 Auction: RCB squad for IPL 2022

Faf du Plessis, Finn Allen, Virat Kohli, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik, Luvnith Sisodia, David Willey, Glenn Maxwell, Sherfane Rutherford, Wanindu Hasaranga, Aneeshwar Gautam, Harshal Patel, Mahipal Lomror, Shahbaz Ahmed, Suyash Prabhudessai, Josh Hazlewood, Jason Behrendorff, Akash Deep, Chama Milind, Mohammed Siraj, Siddharth Kaul, Karn Sharma

Key Buys:

1. Harshal Patel (INR 10.75 crore)

2. Wanindu Hasaranga (INR 10.75 crore)

3. Josh Hazlewood (INR 7.75 crore)

RCB Possible Starting 11:

Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, Anuj Rawat, Glenn Maxwell, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Mahipal Lomror, Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Siraj.

RCB IPL 2022 Auction Analysis:

Key strengths:

1. Solid pace bowling core:

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Over the years, RCB has had some of the best ever T20 batsmen sat together in their dressing room. They would amass huge scores on a regular basis, with the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers lighting up the Chinnaswamy. However, the bowling had the strength of a wet tissue; a key reason why RCB has fallen short of the title.

From 2020 onwards, there has been a greater emphasis on their bowling, and this has shone through in RCB’s auction strategy in 2022. The majority of their remaining purse was spent on their bowling attack, with Harshal Patel, the record-holder for most wickets in a season by an Indian, partnering with Josh Hazlewood and Mohammed Siraj to form a solid pace-bowling core.

2. Batting experience in the top four:

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Faf du Plessis partners Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell to form a solid top four. If Maxwell and du Plessis can produce the kind of form in 2021, RCB will be very well-placed more often than not. Importantly, it puts less pressure on Kohli, who is finding his feet right now, to go big.

All three have plenty of experience, with du Plessis and Maxwell coming off wonderful respective seasons in IPL 2021. In fact, du Plessis was a player of the match in the Final, showcasing his big-game experience that can come in handy this season.

Key weaknesses/concerns:

1. Potential over-reliance on top 4

An old-age problem for RCB has been their reliance on a few key players. The feeling is the same ahead of the 2022 season, with plenty resting on the top order to deliver the bulk of the runs with the middle order looking a little thin on big-hitting potential.

Dinesh Karthik is a capable finisher, but one wonders how much he can offer in this area at 36 years of age. Mahipal Lomror was a key buy for RCB, but plenty will be required from a player who strikes at 123.37 in 58 T20s.

So, one feels that at least two of the du Plessis-Kolhi-Maxwell trio need to have a blinder of a season for RCB to score runs consistently. Alternatively, RCB could play the likes of Sherfane Rutherford in the finishing role, but that would mean leaving out one of their expensive overseas buys.

2. Big distribution of funds among a few players

RCB will field four players above 10 crores in their likely XI (Kohli, Maxwell, Hasaranga and Harshal). As a result, a key question around RCB is whether they have the squad depth and quality to cover any loss of form, COVID-19 or injury.

Also, RCB’s pursuit of Hasaranga did raise eyebrows. One of the top talents in T20 cricket, Hasaranga was brought into the RCB squad for the second-leg of IPL 2021, where he only played a couple of matches. After under-par performances, he was immediately dropped for the likes of Dan Christian and George Garton.

Such a lack of patience cannot work this season. They have put their faith in the likes of Hasaranga and must persist with him.

3. Lack of quality Indian spinners

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The fact that Yuzvendra Chahal was sold to Rajasthan Royals for 4 crores less than Hasaranga would have hurt RCB. The franchise showed their hand quite early, which meant they needed cheaper players after using up much of their budget on day one.

One area they look short in is the Indian spin department. This further increases the spotlight on Hasaranga, as he will have a key role in leading the spin attack. Leg-spinner Karn Sharma could also have a very important role to play, with his 134 matches of T20 experience hopefully coming in handy for Bangalore.

However, the lack of experienced finger-spinning options is an area RCB will have to overcome.

RCB will enter IPL 2022 with both reasons to be optimistic and nervous. The old-age issue of the middle order will be tested once again, while they need their big-name players to lead the way.

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