Pollard, Harbhajan put Mumbai in third final
Mumbai Indians 187 for 6 (Simmons 65, Pollard 41, Bravo 3-40) beat Chennai Super Kings 162 (du Plessis 45, Malinga 3-23) by 25 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Mumbai Indians dished out the perfect formulaic fare - win toss, score enough runs and throttle the opponent in the field - to subdue Chennai Super Kings by 25 runs and march into the final.
After Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard took Mumbai's score to 187, they shadowed Super Kings throughout their chase, never allowing them to get on top. Harbhajan Singh's dismissals of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni off consecutive deliveries in the 11th over helped Mumbai make the decisive surge.
Apart from Faf du Plessis, who consolidated after an early wicket, and R Ashwin, who dealt a few powerful blows towards the end, Super Kings' batting, as Dhoni later put it, was soft. It was only a matter of time before Mumbai clinched their eighth win in nine games.
After a decent start, Super Kings found themselves in the rather unfamiliar territory of a middle-order collapse, and more disturbingly for them they didn't have the right response. The very next ball after Raina pushed one straight back at Harbhajan, Dhoni , attempting a sweep, was caught plumb in front. But the lbw that caused much angst to Super Kings was that of Dwayne Smith, ruled out by Richard Illingworth when a Lasith Malinga low full toss in the first over struck him well outside leg stump.
But du Plessis, who was later dropped on 14 by Malinga, remained Super Kings' banker. However, his dismissal in the 14th over, which was followed by Parthiv Patel's sharp run-out of Dwayne Bravo, quelled any late uprising. Ashwin belted out some elegant hits, but with no recognised batsman at the other end there was too much for him to do. Super Kings folded up two balls after his dismissal in the 19th over.
Even though Mumbai didn't go berserk from the beginning, openers Simmons and Parthiv Patel didn't panic after a slow start.
After negotiating tidy opening spells from Ashwin, who opened the bowling for the second time this year, and Ashish Nehra, Simmons blasted a brace of sixes off Ashwin to shrug off the inertia. While he played out 25 dot balls, he compensated with five sixes and three fours during the course of his 51-ball 65. Simmons looked to be hurling everything he had at the ball, and besides hacking the ball down the ground, his fast hands came in handy while guiding the ball late.
Parthiv joined in with his clear-the-front-leg-and-swipe approach soon after, and together they completed their fourth 50-plus partnership of the tournament. After Bravo sent back Parthiv, the incidence of wickets appeared to be a little more frequent, but it didn't have a palpable impact on the scoring-rate: they scored 49 runs from the 10th to 15th overs, and managed 52 in their last five.
Pollard played an influential role in this respect, slamming a 17-ball 41 with five sixes and a four. He largely favoured the leg side, besides going straight every once in a while. That he kept going despite wickets falling at the other end hurt Super Kings, whose fielding was uncharacteristically patchy. It rubbed on to their bowling towards the end: Bravo bowled three wides in the last over, which cost him 16 runs.
Super Kings were on exactly the same score - 86 - as their opponents at the halfway mark, having lost two wickets to Mumbai's none. But the loss of four wickets in the next five overs saw them slide irreversibly.
Arun Venugopal is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo