Holders Mumbai earned yet another shot at the Ranji Trophy title as they entered the final of the domestic cricket championship on the basis of the first innings lead over Delhi in the semi-final, which ended in a draw in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The huge 289 runs first innings lead the 38-time champions took on Wednesday was enough to pilot them to a five-day final against Karnataka.
Six-time winners Karnataka made the summit clash by the virtue of their first innings lead over Uttar Pradesh in the other semi-final, which also ended in a draw, in Bangalore.
The final is in Mysore, from January 11 to 15.
Mumbai, who entered the final for the 43rd time, were bundled out for 187 in their second essay on Wednesday, with Delhi spin twins Vikas Mishra (6-49) and Aditya Jain (4-43) sharing the wickets.
Chasing 477 to win, Delhi then put up 160 for four, left-hand opener Shikhar Dhawan (40) being the top-scorer.
Mumbai left-arm slow bowler Iqbal Abdulla grabbed three for 53 before play was called off by mutual consent.
Delhi's inability to grab the early advantage of having reduced the holders to 85 for three before lunch on Day 1 was the turning point, according to Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer.
The visitors allowed Mumbai to surge to a match-deciding first innings score, Abishek Nayar's gutsy 156 being the cornerstone.
"Abhishek Nayar played a great knock. We believed in him when he said he was fit and he proved it. His partnership with Onkar Khanvilkar, who has been in and out of the team, when we were 85 for three was the turning point," Jaffer said.
Nayar, who is to undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore due to a hand injury, added 145 runs with Khanvilkar (70) to swing fortunes Mumbai's way.
Mumbai's skipper said he was a bit wary going into the match because Delhi had got past Tamil Nadu, the top team in the league stage, in the quarter-finals.
"I was a bit concerned going into the match as Delhi felt they were the favourites and had beaten Tamil Nadu, the top team in our group," he said.
Jaffer also expressed satisfaction with his bowlers' performance in skittling out Delhi for a lowly first innings total, but expressed concern at the failure of the top order ahead of the final.
"Ramesh Powar bowled well on this wicket which aided spin. Once we put 500 on the board we had the edge," Jaffer said.
Incidentally, Mumbai will meet Karnataka in the final of the national championship after a quarter of a century. Their last meeting in the summit clash was in 1982-83 in Mumbai, with Karnataka emerging champions.
Mumbai (1st innings): 500
Delhi (1st innings): 211
Mumbai (2nd innings)(overnight 123-4):
S Kukreja b Mishra 71
W Jaffer c Bisht b Mishra 20
A Rahane c Sangwan b Jain 1
O Khanvilkar c Jain b Mishra 15
V Samant b Mishra 0
I Abdulla b Mishra 2
A Nayar b Mishra 2
A Agarkar c Chabra b Jain 23
R Powar c Manhas b Jain 5
U Malvi not out 10
A Salvi c Tehlan b Jain 7
Extras: (b 21, lb 5, nb 4, wb 1) 31
Total: (all out in 75.2 overs) 187
Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-53, 3-119, 4-119, 5-124, 6-129, 7-147, 8-161, 9-166
Bowling: P Sangwan 11-1-29-0, P Awana 3-2-1-0, I Sharma 2-0-10-0, V Mishra 31-4-49-6, P Jain 18.2-10,43-4, M Tehlan 9-0-29-0, M Manhas 1-1-0-0.
Delhi (2nd innings):
M Tehlan b Abdulla 37
S Dhawan st Samant b Powar 40
A Jain c and b Abdulla 27
P Bisht not out 31
G Chabra c Malvi b Abdulla 8
P Sangwan not out 16
Extras: (lb 1) 1
Total: (for 4 wkts, in 38 overs) 160
Fall of wickets: 1-59, 2-89, 3-118, 4-136
Bowling: Salvi 4-1-16-0, Malvi 4-0-20-0, Powar 11-0-49-1, Abdulla 16-4-53-3, Rahane 4-0-21-0.
Karnataka also through on first innings lead
Bangalore: Karnataka stormed into the Ranji Trophy final by virtue of their 367-run first innings lead after their semi-final match against Uttar Pradesh ended in a draw at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
Karnataka last won the coveted cup in the 1998-99 season.
Resuming at the overnight 43 for three, Karnataka declared their second innings moments before tea at 247 for eight.
CM Gautam celebrated his call-up to the South Zone squad for the Duleep Trophy with an enterprising 100 not out on a withering fourth day track. It was his third Ranji century in eight matches.
RP Singh bagged four wickets while Piyush Chawla finished with 3 for 72 for visitors Uttar Pradesh.
UP lost the wicket of Tanmay Srivatsava in their inconsequential second innings before the umpires called off the game an hour before draw of stumps.
UP had made 22 for one in 12 overs.
Karnataka face a daunting opponent in Mumbai in the final. In 19 matches, Mumbai trounced Karnataka outright in nine while conceding the first lead in four games.
Despite the ominous record, Rahul Dravid deemed the boys should go out and enjoy the game.
"We have a very young team. We got to go out and enjoy ourselves irrespective of who your opponent's are," said Dravid.
He commended the boys for their outstanding performance throughout the season.
"The boys have performed exceptionally well this season. The young batsmen have scored consistently and the fast bowlers have produced the wickets to put Karnataka in the final. Overall, it has been a great team performance," he added.
Karnataka (1st innings): 575 for 7 decl.
Uttar Pradesh (1st innings): 208 all out
Karnataka (2nd innings): (overnight 43 for 3)
Robin Uthappa lbw b Chawla 18
K B Pawan lbw b Chawla 16
Ganesh satish c Amir Khan b RP Singh 18
Manish Pandey b Chawla 4
Amit Verma lbw b Tanmay Srivatsava 26
CM Gautam not out 100
R Vinay Kumar b RP Singh 38
Sunil Joshi c Piyush Cahwala b RP Singh 4
Abhimanyu Mithun lbw b RP Singh 0
Rahul Dravid not out 0
Extras: (b19, lb-3, nb1) 23
Total: (for 8 wkts decl) 247
Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-35, 3-39, 4-66, 5-117, 6-229, 7-241, 8-241.
Bowling: R P Singh 20-6-47-4; Bhuvaneswar Kumar 8-0-31-0; Praveen Gupta 16-5-29-0; Piyush Chawla 26-8-72-3; Praveen Kumar 3-3-0-0; T Srivatsava 12-1-40-1; Rohit Prakash 2-0-6-0.
Uttar Pradesh (2nd innings):
Tanmay Srivatsava b Aravind 6
Rohit Prakash not out 7
Shivkant Shukla not out 7
Extras: (b1; lb1) 2
Total: (for one wicket in 12 overs) 22
Fall of wicket: 1-13
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 3-1-3-0; Sreesanth Aravind 5-1-10-1; Robin Uthappa 2-0-6-0; Manish Pandey 1-0-1-0.