Make-shift opener and Man-of-the-Match Dwayne Smith (87 not out) joined hands with Sachin Tendulkar (58 not out) to ease Mumbai Indians past a formidable target of 163 with 10 wickets and two overs to spare, against Rajasthan Royals in their final league engagement on Sunday.
An inspired Mumbai joined Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders as the teams to go into the playoff with a win.
Only Chennai Super Kings made the grade despite losing its last encounter after its prayers were answered with Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore losing, in that order, over the past three days.
Medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, playing his first match of the season by replacing Munaf Patel, took out openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane upfront and then returned to add the scalp of Ashok Menaria for an impressive analysis of 4-1-18-3.
Thereafter, Smith held centre-stage. Chasing a challenging target, Mumbai's approach was in keeping with the expectations of its fans.
Smith, once caught-and-bowled by Siddharth Trivedi off a ‘no-ball' when on 50 and dropped on 75, did not change gears through the innings.
He hit three sixes and 10 boundaries during this 58-ball innings.
Tendulkar, happy to give let Smith call the shots, rotated the strike well and helped himself to his second half-century of the season.
His 51-ball knock, dotted with just six boundaries, was just right on a day when Smith could do no wrong.
In fact, the margin could have been a lot closer had Rajasthan not dropped three catches and fielded poorly.
Earlier, batting by choice, Rajasthan lost openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane cheaply with the six-over score reading 31 for two.
Kulkarni produced a superb spell of 3-1-10-2, including a wicket-maiden, to give Mumbai the edge straightaway.
But, eventually, some uninspired out-cricket from the host played its part in giving Mumbai the most comprehensive win of the league.
Rajasthan Royals: R. Dravid c Karthik b Kulkarni 5 (5b, 1x4), A. Rahane c Rohit b Kulkarni 13 (17b, 2x4), S. Watson c Smith b Pollard 45 (36b, 4x2, 2x6), S. Binny (run out) 30 (17b, 3x4, 2x6), O. Shah (not out) 28 (24b, 1x4, 1x6), A. Menaria c and b Kulkarni 21 (20b, 1x4, 1x6), D. Yagnik c and b Malinga 6 (3b, 1x4), B. Hogg (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-1, nb-2, w-11): 14; Total (for six wickets in 20 overs): 162.
Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Dravid), 2-31 (Rahane), 3-84 (Binny), 4-105 (Watson), 5-148 (Menaria), 6-160 (Yagnik).
Mumbai Indians bowling: R.P. Singh 3-0-32-0, Kulkarni 4-1-18-3, Malinga 4-0-32-1, Harbhajan 3-0-31-0, D. Smith 2-0-13-0, Pollard 3-0-29-1, Franklin 1-0-6-0.
Mumbai Indians: S. Tendulkar (not out) 58 (51b, 6x4), D. Smith (not out) 87 (58b, 10x4, 3x6); Extras (lb-2, nb-1, w-15): 18, Total (for no loss in 18 overs): 163.
Rajasthan Royals bowling: Chandila 2-0-24-0, Watson 3-0-17-0, Tait 4-0-40-0, Hogg 4-0-30-0, Trivedi 4-0-37-0, Binny 1-0-13-0.