The Otago Volts would have moved into the semifinals with a win on Tuesday, while knocking out the mighty IPL champions the Mumbai Indians with it.
However, it did not quite go the New Zealand's side way. Maybe it was the pressure of being so close to a semis berth and nerves getting the better of them; or maybe it was the fact that they were playing the Rajasthan Royals - a side that do not know what it is like to lose at home in Jaipur.
Rajasthan Royals bowlers Rahul Shukla celebrates the wicket of Otago Volts opener Hamish Rutherford in their CLT20 game, October 1
Either way, the Otago Volts failed to pick up that win, keeping the Mumbai Indians in the tournament and ensuring the Royals would finish the group stages as winners, and with it, most likely, avoid playing the Chennai Super Kings.
Set 140 to win, after the Otago Volts could only manage 139 for seven, Ajinkya Rahane (52) and the evergreen Brad Hodge (52, 23b, 5x4, 3x6) guided the Royals to a four-wicket win, keeping the IPL side unbeaten in CLT20 2013.
The Mumbai Indians now have to win their final game against the Perth Scorchers to go level on points with Otago, who finished their group engagements with ten points.
The Volts have a far superior net run rate to the Mumbai Indians, and the IPL champions will have to win handsomely on Wednesday against their Australian opponents.
Rahane, overlooked for the lone T20 international and the first three ODIs against Australia, came out looking like he wanted to prove a point to the selectors - and prove it he did as he started the innings off with a barrage of gorgeous drives through the offside.
With the target far from daunting, it was the perfect opportunity for Rahul Dravid to spend some time in the middle before the semifinals. However, the Indian veteran could only manage 10 from 17 balls, holing out to Nathan McCullum off Nick Beard.
Sanju Samson, so impressive in the tournament for the Royals, did not find his usual touch, falling early to Neesham. After doing his bit with the bat, the unstoppable Neesham (three for 22) sent Shane Watson packing, as the Royals stuttered a bit on 71 for three.
Soon it was a little more than a stutter as Stuart Binny was picked up by Neil Wagner, leaving the Royals needing another 68 runs from 47 deliveries.
However, Brad Hodge came in and settled all nerves like only he can, putting on 44 runs with Rahane to take the Royals to the brink of victory.
Rahane (52, 48b, 7x4) unnecessarily got himself out with the Royals needing 24 from the last three overs - Neesham, who else picking up the wicket; it was a good innings, though from the Indian opener.
Hodge, then calmly saw his side through as the Royals now await the second-placed team in Group B.
The first innings was blown wide open by an unlikely source - a medium pacer who goes by the name of Rahul Shukla, and someone who managed to knock out three top Otago batsmen, including their skipper Brendon McCullum.
Shukla (three for 23), in for Vikramjeet Malik, first castled Hamish Rutherford off his very first ball, before a couple of balls later McCullum was also walking back, trapped in front by an in-dipper.
It was three wickets in five balls for Shukla, who couldn't believe his luck when Derek de Boorder mistimed an attempted pull shot straight back to him.
Otago were already up against it, but matters got worse in the next over, with Watson picking up Neil Broom, the man who smashed a century a couple of matches ago.
The Volts were on 21 for four at that point and it was up to CLT0's best all-round player so far - Jimmy Neesham (32, 25b, 4x4, 1x6) - to bail his side out of a hole again.
Neesham, who is sure to cause a lot of interest in next year's IPL Auctions, built a 53-run partnership with Ryan Ten Doeschate (26, 27b, 3x4) to pull Otago out of troubled waters, before a bit of hitting towards the end took them to a decent score.
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