Mukesh Kumar ran through Karnataka's second innings with a career-best six-wicket haul as Bengal hammered their star-studded opponents by 174 runs to enter their first Ranji Trophy final in 13 years here on Tuesday.
The low-profile pacer, who had dismissed India regular K L Rahul in Karnataka's first innings, became the hero in the second essay with his 6/61 as Bengal took less than two hours to dismiss Karnataka on day four.
Resuming their monumental chase of 352 at 98 for three, Karnataka lost their remaining seven wickets for 79 runs in 16.3 overs. The penultimate day's proceedings lasted just 115 minutes after which the hero-of-the-day Mukesh Kumar was seen carried on his shoulders by Akash Deep.
Bengal, who won their previous Ranji title during Sourav Ganguly's debut season way back in 1989-90, had lost to Mumbai by 132 runs in their last final appearance in 2007.
Bengal will face the winners of Gujarat and Saurashtra clash, underway in Rajkot, in the final from March 9 and it will be an away match for them.
Bengal also halted a third treble bid by Karnataka who recently were crowned the domestic one-day (Vijay Hazare Trophy) and T20 (Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy) champions. Karnataka's last treble had come in 2014-15 when they had achieved the feat twice on the trot.
Mukesh Kumar, who had previous best figures of 6/62, looked at his ominous best taking five wickets in just 60 balls with an imperious spell that read 9-4-28-5.
Bengal 312 & 161. Karnataka 122 & 177; 55.3 overs (Devdutt Paddikkal 62; Mukesh Kumar 6-61). Bengal won by 174 runs.
Saurashtra in command against Gujarat
Arpit Vasavada's gritty 139 propelled Saurashtra to set a challenging 327-run target for Gujarat on the fourth day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final here on Tuesday.
Chintan Gaja' fiery spell had brought Gujarat back into contention on the third day, but Vasavada's seventh first-class hundred, and the third this season, swung the momentum in favour of the hosts.
Courtesy his ton and handy contributions from Chetan Sakariya (45), Chirag Jani (51) and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (21), Saurashtra recovered from a dismal 15 for five to post 274 in their second innings.
They had a 52-run lead and hence the target set was 327.
When stumps were drawn, Gujarat were seven for one with opener Priyank Panchal (0) back in the hut.