Mumbai Indians [ Images ] stormed into the final of the Indian Premier League [ Images ], thrashing Royal Challengers [ Images ] Bangalore by 35 runs in the first semi-final at the DY Patil stadium, in Navi Mumbai, on Wednesday.
The Sachin Tendulkar-led outfit, having qualified for the last four for the first time in three attempts, ensured their love affair with this edition continued to the final stage with a clinical display.
It was Mumbai Indians' 11th win in this edition, their fourth in the last five matches, and took their winning tally to 12 matches in the last two seasons. It was also their eighth win in 12 matches batting first.
Chasing a formidable 185 for victory, the visitors could only muster 149 for nine in their stipulated quota of overs.
The team from Bangalore, losing finalists in the last edition, kept losing wickets at regular intervals and never mounted any serious challenge with the bat.
RCB were fortunate to have made it to the last four, having won just half of their 14 matches; but even fortune wouldn't have rescued them from their vapid effort on Wednesday.
Ross Taylor [ Images ] was their top scorer with a valiant 30-ball 31 not out, but the bane of their innings was the lack of a decent partnership that could give the innings the stability it desperately required.
Kieron Pollard was the pick of the Mumbai Indians bowlers with figures of three for 17, while Lasith Malinga [ Images ] (two for 24) and Harbhajan Singh [ Images ] (two for 44) provided the necessary support.
Jacques Kallis [ Images ] (11) survived when Shikar Dhawan put him down at deep fine leg off Dilhara Fernando.
The South African celebrated with a boundary in front of square but his celebrations didn't last long, Lasith Malinga inducing an edge off his blade and Ambati Rayudu making no mistake behind the stumps.
Kevin Pietersen [ Images ] (19) hit a couple of boundaries before Harbhajan Singh had him stumped.
Robin Uthappa [ Images ] (26) began at his destructive best, smashing Harbhajan for 18 runs in his second over, including two maximums.
And, as a result, RCB went into the first strategic break - taken after nine overs - comfortably-placed at 80 for two.
However, disaster struck in the first over after resumption.
Uthappa failed to read a slow delivery from Pollard and dragged it straight to Dhawan at deep square leg.
And, off the very next ball, a terrible mix up resulted in Dravid being run out.
Two wickets in two balls meant Bangalore were forced to go on the back foot and their hopes of a victory began to fade.
And with half the side back in the pavilion even before the second strategic time-out could be taken, the end result seemed a mere formality.
The lone consolation for them would be a win in the third-place play-off and a berth in the lucrative Champions League [ Images ].
Earlier, Mumbai Indians started with a bang and stuttered in the middle before finishing strong.
The home team eventually scored 184 for five in their stipulated 20 overs, the last five producing a whopping 77 runs.
Saurabh Tiwary [ Images ] top-scored for them with a characteristic 31-ball 52, inclusive of three hits to the fence and four over it.
Kieron Pollard was unbeaten on a 13-ball 33, including a boundary and three huge sixes. The duo was involved in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand that yielded Mumbai Indians 40 runs off just 14 balls.
Dale Steyn was the most successful of the RCB bowlers with figures of two for 43, but it was Kevin Pietersen who impressed the most (4-0-20-1).
After a quiet opening over - by Praveen Kumar that yielded Mumbai Indians just two runs - Sachin Tendulkar [ Images ] (9) cut loose hitting two boundaries in three balls off Steyn.
But the South African speedster had the last laugh, having the in-form batsman caught by Ross Taylor at cover.
It was the first occasion that the Master Blaster was dismissed for a single digit score in this edition.
Kumar bowled a wayward third over to ease the pressure but Shikar Dhawan (12) ran himself out in the next over to put the pressure back on.
Ambati Rayudu (40) continued his good form hitting three boundaries, including successive ones off Kumar to bring Mumbai Indians back in the game.
Abhishek Nayar [ Images ] (22) also helped himself to two hits to the fence.
Going into the first strategic timeout - taken after seven overs - the hosts were comfortably-placed at 62 for two.
There was a mini collapse after resumption.
Pietersen was introduced into the attack in the eighth over and the Englishman struck with his second ball, having Nayar caught by Kumar at short fine leg.
Pietesen was also involved in the next dismissal, on this occasion catching JP Duminy (3) at short cover in the next over, bowled by Anil Kumble [ Images ].
Going into the second strategic timeout - after 13 overs - Mumbai Indians were in some trouble at 93 for four - with no boundaries scored in 26 balls.
However, soon after resumption Saurabh Tiwary smashed a six off Virat Kohili to help Mumbai inch past the 100-run mark.
The long haired left-hander combined well with Rayudu, putting on a 67-run partnership for the fifth wicket that laid the foundation of the Mumbai Indians innings.
The 16th over, Kallis's second, cost RCB 17 runs, with Tiwary being the aggressor-in-chief, smashing the first ball for a six and following it up with two boundaries.
The 17th over, Kumble's final, cost them another 17, Tiwary hitting a bounadry at short fine and following it up with a maximum straight over the bowler's head.
Rayudu was fortunate to survive in that over as Kumble had overstepped while bowling the delivery in which he had holed out.
However, he was not as fortunate in the next over, Steyn having him caught by Kallis at mid-off.
Rayudu's 38-ball knock was inclusive of four hits to the fence.
Two balls later, Tiwary cleared the long-on boundary to bring up a well-deserved half century.
Kieron Pollard smashed 17 runs of R Vinay Kumar's penultimate over, including two sixes over long-off, to give the MI total the required fillip.
Steyn's final over cost RCB a further 16 runs, Pollard hitting a boundary of the first ball and clearing the long-on boundary with the penultimate delivery to ensure Mumbai Indians a strong finish.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians captain Sachin Tendulkar won the toss and opted to bat.
"It looks a good wicket and we look to put up a decent total first up," said Tendulkar.
His opposite number, Anil Kumble, didn't seem too perturbed on losing the toss.
"It's probably a good toss to lose," he reasoned, adding, "It looks a good surface with a lot of bounce and we will look to restrict them and chase down the total."
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Shikar Dhawan, Abhishek Nayar, Saurabh Tiwary, JP Duminy, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Anil Kumble (captain), Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey, Kevin Pietersen, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Ross Taylor, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Dale Steyn.