Mumbai 44 and 61 for 0 (Tare 40*) need 384 runs to beat Karnataka 202 and 286 (Mithun 89, Samarth 58, Thakur 4-69, Sandhu 3-45)
After an action-packed opening day which saw heaps of wickets, a semblance of parity was restored at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on the second day of the semi-final between Karnataka and Mumbai. Nightwatchman Abhimanyu Mithun's onslaught in the morning session helped Karnataka set Mumbai a challenging fourth-innings target of 445 but the visitors pulled things back as a late collapse gave them a slim chance of a win.
Mumbai's opening batsmen ensured their bowlers' good work didn't go to waste, batting solidly for 78 minutes and adding an unbroken 61. They need another 384 runs to upstage the defending champions and enter the final.
Mithun's aggressive knock in the morning session gave Karnataka's bowlers a large total to defend. Sent in as a nightwatchman on the first evening, after the home team lost both openers cheaply, Mithun batted as fluently as Robin Uthappa did on the first morning.
Mithun, who usually bats in the top order for his club side in the KSCA League, didn't waste an opportunity to bat up the order. His drives were as precise as a top-order batsman's - a straight drive off Balwinder Sandhu early in the day was the standout stroke.
Once he gained confidence, Mithun punished the Mumbai attack. Shortly after the drinks break, he overhauled his previous first-class best of 63 not out - scored at the same ground against Orissa in November 2010 - with another straight drive off Wilkin Mota. Mithun was set for his maiden first-class century but with the lunch break approaching, he tried an extravagant drive off Thakur only to have his stumps disturbed.
Harmeet Singh deceived R Samarth in turn and flight off the fourth ball after the break but despite the quick wickets, Mumbai were soon staring down the barrel.
Manish Pandey and Karun Nair, two of the most free-flowing batsmen on the domestic circuit, did not take long to get their eye in and started scoring boundaries at will.
Sandhu got Nair to chase a wide one, and Tare didn't falter behind the wickets. That wicket triggered the mini-collapse and from 222 for 4, Karnataka were reduced to 261 for 9. While Sandhu added Kunal Kapoor's wicket to his kitty, Karnataka's poor running between the wickets continued to haunt them as Manish Pandey was run-out after miscommunication with CM Gautam. Harmeet latched on to a full-blooded drive by Vinay Kumar off his own bowling, while Thakur accounted for Gautam - caught by a lunging Herwadakar at gully - to take his season's wicket tally to 48.
For the second day in a row - with the ninth wicket falling just before the scheduled tea break - the session was extended by up to half an hour. S Aravind hung on to let Shreyas Gopal display his prowess with the bat yet again. Gopal was driving the ball fluently but was eventually undone by Thakur's pace before the break was taken.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo