New Delhi: In the end, it took only 34.4 overs and 160 minutes on the sixth day of play for Mumbai to impose themselves on the game and reach the final of the Ranji Trophy for the 44th time in their glittering history. Services, who had showed much fight on the fifth day to take the game into a sixth, lost their two pillars, Yashpal Singh and Soumya Ranjan Swain early in the piece, and from there on there was no denying Mumbai.
The equation for Mumbai was straightforward when the final day began: they needed seven wickets before Services came close to the first-innings target of 454. For Services, runs were at a premium, but more crucial was survival, as even an incomplete game would give them a chance to go through by a coin toss. In the end this was purely academic.
Shardul Thakur, the bustling medium pacer, provided the crucial breakthrough in his fourth over of the morning, when Yashpal was drawn into prodding at a delivery he could just as easily have left alone. Having cracked Thakur straight to the cover fielder earlier in the over, Yashpal might have felt he had missed out on a scoring opportunity, and played at a good-length ball that did just enough to beat the middle of the bat and take the outside edge. Yashpal had made 58 in a partnership of 114, but even as he walked off the ground, cursing himself, Mumbai had their tail up.