Rajasthan Royals had two away games to ensure a place in the top two, and two bites at the final cherry. Somewhere between the first - which they lost in Mumbai - and the second, another defeat in Hyderabad, their hitherto fairytale season ceased to be about cricket. The spot-fixing scandal not only took the sheen off their performances, but it also deprived them of three bowlers who had played parts of varying significance in their campaign till then.
They didn't even arrive in Delhi till late on Tuesday (May 21), opting for a morning training session at their home base in Jaipur instead. Sunrisers Hyderabad also trained away from the Feroz Shah Kotla, at a school in central Delhi. Neither team held a press conference, clearly having no appetite to answer ever-more uncomfortable questions about a debacle that is sure to drag in more names over the coming weeks.
Hyderabad started the season rank outsiders, most of their squad drawn from the extinct Deccan Chargers, champions in 2009, but wretched performers in both 2011 and 2012. The fit-again Shikhar Dhawan bolstered their batting in the latter stages of the league, but it was still incredibly flaky. Their bowling, however, was consistently excellent, allowing them to ease past a stalling Bangalore in the final week of the season.