For Deccan Chargers, the DLF-IPL-III has been a near perfect fairytale so far.
Languishing in the bottom half at the half-way stage of the competition, Adam Gilchrist's men scripted a remarkable run of five wins in-a-row to merit a place in the semifinal where it will run into Chennai Super Kings here on Thursday.
Gilchrist has marshalled his resources well to defend small totals, and victories against CSK in away and home matches ought to bode well for the Chargers.
But as the former Australian stumper pointed out, the results of the 14 league matches does not count in the knock-out phase where it's a different competition altogether with two matches determining the winner.
The Chargers have given themselves a chance to defend the title it won defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore at Johannesburg last year.
They have, in fact, returned to the satellite town of Navi Mumbai and the D.Y. Patil Stadium ? which acted as the first of its three ?home venues (the other two were Cuttack and Nagpur) ? where it lost narrowly to Kolkata Knight Riders on March 12.
Rohit Sharma, who played a horrendous shot in that match, has redeemed himself since with a handful of brilliant knocks and excelling in the field, taking a couple of spectacular catches against Delhi Daredevils in the last league match at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
But, it was Tirumalasetti Suman's individual brilliance against RCB that has triggered the Chargers's return to winning ways. He too has proved to be a stumbling block for rival bowling attacks since that match.
After the initial success of left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas, Australian seamer Ryan Harris, who replaced the West Indian Kemar Roach, has showed his mettle.
As the league progressed, Gilchrist showed faith in Harmeet Singh and reaped rich reward.
Andrew Symonds also turned out to be Gilchrist's key performer with the bat, ball and on the field.
Symonds had promised to contribute more to the team mid-way through the tournament and his three ?Man of the Match' performances have demonstrated his commitment to the team.
Though runs have been in short supply from Gilchrist, he has outsmarted rivals on the captaincy count. A batsman regarded as a big match performer and match-winner may stir up a fascinating contest against fellow Australian Doug Bollinger.
As it transpired at Dharamsala, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is CSK's match winning player. Left-hander Suresh Raina took a heavy workload in the light of Mathew Hayden's poor form, and has played his part.
Murali Vijay too has given full vein to his batting talents in a few matches. The CSK batsmen will have to counter the smart and clever bowling from Harris and Vaas and also left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
CSK opted to practice at home on Tuesday and remained in their hotel rooms here on Wednesday.
It was here that CSK lost to Rajasthan Royals in the 2008 final. Both Chargers and CSK will be probably glued to the small screen to try and ascertain the behaviour of the pitch that is being readied for the third-place play-off match and the final.
It was also at the same venue that Gilchrist carved out a brilliant century against the Mumbai Indians two years ago.
Vijay Patil's band of workers at the D.Y. Patil Stadium got down to business once they were told at 3 am last Sunday that the semifinal matches have been moved to Navi Mumbai.
While Dhoni will look to set things right here and enter title match for the second time, Gilchrist will count on his players to extend the winning streak.