R.P. Singh’s no-ball leaves RCB red-faced yet again in the lion’s den

Royal Challengers Bangalore has had a rather irksome bedfellow in last-over finishes thus far in this IPL with games against Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad (a super-over ending) giving the team an equal measure of delight and anguish.

On Saturday night at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, RCB was left red-faced in a most weirdly, soul-shattering fashion. With Chennai Super Kings requiring 16 off the last over bowled by R.P. Singh, Ravindra Jadeja (38 n.o., 20b) slammed a four and a six. Following a sequence of ones and twos, CSK needed two off the last ball.

As Jadeja edged a cut to Ravi Rampaul at third man, RCB exulted unaware of umpire Anil Chaudhary signalling a no-ball — Singh had over-stepped.

A single having been completed, Jadeja and Chris Morris celebrated. RCB and its stunned skipper Virat Kohli could only gasp in disbelief after failing to break the CSK hoodoo at this ground again — it last beat the home team here in 2008.

Chasing 166, CSK’s doddering beginning was somewhat rectified by Suresh Raina, whose forceful drives consistently found untenanted regions. S. Badrinath provided gritty company.

The duo’s exit, much like that of the openers, came in the space of a few deliveries. Skipper M.S. Dhoni and Jadeja expedited things with a 59-run alliance. But the ouster of first Dhoni, and then Bravo, seemed to point to a bleak ending.

Earlier, after CSK elected to bowl, Morris nailed Chris Gayle off his fifth ball. Kohli (58, 47b), joining Mayank Agarwal, eked out a sober Powerplay; RCB scored 33 in the period.

R. Ashwin, in a departure from being deployed in the first six overs, finished his quota in the middle overs. He duly compiled a niggardly spell, sending back Mayank Agarwal.

But the upshot of that was Super Kings had to bump into A.B. de Villiers (64, 32b, 8x4, 1x6) whose frigid daredevilry garnered Royal Challengers 101 runs in the last 10 overs.

Shuffling around the crease like a delirious boxer, de Villiers produced some gloriously audacious strokes.

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