First-innings honours put Mumbai in final
Mumbai 500 and 187 (Kukreja 71, Mishra 6-49, Jain 4-43) drew with Delhi 211 and 160 for 4 (Dhawan 40, Abdulla 3-53)
Mumbai entered their 43rd Ranji Trophy final, and the second in successive years, on the basis of a first-innings lead. Set an insurmountable 477 for victory in 48 overs, Delhi managed 160 for 4 before both teams decided to call the match off before the start of the mandatory overs.
On Tuesday, Mumbai had virtually confirmed their berth in the finals after Ramesh Powar scuppered Delhi's chances in a six-over spell that fetched him 5 for 9. His effort was the first five-for by a Mumbai bowler this season - a fact that underlines the defending champions' topsy-turvy form this year, in which they have just one outright win in the lead-up to the summit clash.
Before the semi-finals, the Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer had blamed the hectic schedule for his team's inability to secure more victories as his bowlers were a tired lot. Yesterday, after his match-turning spell in the second session, Powar said that having bowled "1500-plus" overs through the season, the team would prefer to bat as long as possible in the second innings. Little wonder then that Mumbai did not enforce the follow-on despite a first-innings lead of 289.
It was amply clear that Mumbai would play for time when the overnight pair of Onkar Khanvilkar and Iqbal Abdulla took guard on the final morning. But Vikas Mishra shook Mumbai out of their slumber with two quick wickets in his first two overs. Khanvilkar, who had scored a half-century while sharing a crucial stand with Abhishek Nayar in the first innings, played for turn, but the ball straightened to take the edge through to Aditya Jain at first slip. Iqbal Abdulla lost his leg stump after playing back to Vikas Mishra, who also accounted for Nayar with one that jumped and turned from the rough.
The rest of the batsmen could not do much as Mishra and legspinner Aditya Jain gained in confidence. Mumbai managed just 54 runs for the loss of six wickets, but with only two more sessions left in the game, it hardly mattered.
Mumbai will face Karnataka in the final - the fifth title face-off between the two sides. The last instance was in the 1982-83 season when Karnataka emerged victorious.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo