As the inaugural Indian Premier League reaches its climax, the Shane Warne-led Jaipur enter the knock-out stage as the favourites. The team of unlikely heroes has topped the league table with most wins (11), although they tasted defeat in their last engagement.
That loss on the Jaipurians was inflicted by Mohali, the second best of the lot. Yuvraj Singh's team would be hoping to carry the psychological advantage, should the two teams clash again in the final, which they are very much expected to.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai left it too late in sealing their berth, suffering an ominous slump in form. Needing a win from their last three matches, Chennai lost to bottom-placed Bangalore and then were given a pasting by Jaipur. But they pulled up their socks in time to win a potboiler against Hyderabad in their final league game.
That Chennai win also helped Delhi sneak through ahead of Mumbai, whose fate was more or less sealed following their loss to Jaipur the previous day. The wash-out at Feroze Shah Kotla left Delhi's hopes hanging by the thread but while Virender Sehwag's men had three games with them to keep their hopes alive, Kolkata, the other team affected by the no-result, had no such luxury.
Sourav Ganguly and Co. were to blame themselves after losing three games in a row at a time when they had to sustain their momentum.
The picture of Adam Gilchrist sitting on his knees, his face blank and weary, would be etched in viewers' memory. The Australian great, who has been part of the three-time World Cup winning team and is not accustomed to defeat, had to settle for the wooden spoon as a member and stand-in captain of Hyderabad. Bangalore, and their much-derided skipper Rahul Dravid, escaped that ignominy after beating Hyderabad and Chennai.