Mumbai: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 their first innings lead over Delhi in the semi-final tie, which ended in a draw on Wednesday.
The huge 289 runs first innings lead, that the 38-time champions took yesterday, was enough to pilot Mumbai into the five-day final against Karnataka.
Karnataka, six time winners, have also made the summit clash by the virtue of their first innings lead.
The final match will begin in Mysore from January 11.
Mumbai have entered the final for the 43rd time.
The hosts were today bundled out for 187 in their second essay with Delhi spin twins Vikas Mishra (6/49) and Aditya Jain (4/43) shared all the wickets between them.
Chasing 477 to win, Delhi then made 160 for four with left-handed 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 one 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 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, had added 145 runs with Khanvilkar (70) to swing the fortunes Mumbai's way.
The Mumbai skipper said he was a bit wary going into the match because Delhi had got past the top team in the league stage, Tamil Nadu, in the quarter-final.
"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 was concerned 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," the Mumbai skipper said.
Incidentally, Mumbai would 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 at Mumbai with Karnataka emerging champions.