IPL-8: Every match is like a play-off for Mumbai Indians, Ambati Rayudu

Mohali: Having notched up back-to-back victories with a win over Rajasthan Royals in their last game, Mumbai Indians will start as favourites when they take on laggards Kings XI Punjab in an IPL match here today.

Playing at home last night, Mumbai beat Rajasthan by eight runs, their third win in eight games, to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu

They would now look to take revenge of their first leg loss to KXIP in Mumbai on April 12 when the two teams cross swords at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium today.

KXIP, on the other hand, remained at the bottom of the league table with four points and have been inflicted with back-to-back crushing defeats. The home side have often made changes in their playing XI without much gain. Their batting has been a let down in most of the matches.

Mumbai will look to fire on all cylinders right from the start unlike on Friday when they scored 61 in their last four overs, thanks to a late charge from Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard.

Rayudu conceded that his side will have to play each game as a must-win to make it to the play-off stage of the IPL. “Our play-off has already started, to be honest. We need to take each game as such and try to go that extra mile (in every game),” Rayudu, who scored an unbeaten 27-ball 53, said after Mumbai Indians’ win on Friday.

Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga, who were the pick among the bowlers in Friday’s game against Rajasthan, will look to exploit the traditional bouncy nature of the Mohali tracks.

For Jalandhar-based Harbhajan Singh, who plays domestic cricket for Punjab, Mohali ground is a familiar territory and it will be interesting to see whether he manages to have some local fans rooting for him.

Mumbai have been looking for a stable opening combination. Parthiv Patel has been opening in a few games with Lendl Simmons, but with just about 100 runs from six games to his credit, the diminutive Gujarat Ranji captain has not made the sort of impact.

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