I don't think it was explicitly explained, but the mission was probably aborted when Yamato went back to the village.
On the brawl, Naruto was the only one to react at the beginning when Cloud nins arrived, to take a fight stance, to take Sai's sword barely noticing it. When Sai was introduced, it was obvious that he was better than Naruto. The trend is now reversed.
Then, Sai managed to hit his opponent, and Sakura managed to get smashed...
To me, it demonstrates that Naruto really improved, SM or not.
Kakashi read perfectly Danzo's play. I thought Sakura was smart. Even on that has she failed. She seriously needs to make some efforts