Mumbai, May 2: Mumbai Indians notched up their first back-to-back wins this season with a eight-run victory over Rajasthan Royals but their batsman Ambati 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 cricket tournament.
"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)," said Rayudu who scored an 53 while coming in at number five to help Mumbai beat Rajasthan by eight runs here last night.
Rayudu featured in a partnership of 61 runs in just 30 balls with West Indian Kieron Pollard to pull Mumbai out of a mid-innings rut and post a winning score of 187.
Mumbai had started the tournament with four losses on the trot before arresting the trend and yesterday's win was only their third in eight games and the second at the Wankhede Stadium this season.
They stared at a defeat when Rajasthan wicketkeeper Sanju Samson was blasting away to a fine 76 off 47 balls before New Zealand pacer Mitchell McClenaghan dismissed him and Karun Nair off successive balls in the 18th over to tilt the balance in favour of the home side.
"It was definitely Samson the way he batted. It was a brilliant innings. I am happy that we ended up on the winning side," Rayudu said at the post-match press conference when asked at which point Mumbai thought they had wrapped up the game.
On his own batting, Rayudu, who played some big shots towards the close in the company of Pollard, said he had some time to get his eye in before attempting to clear the ropes.
"As long as we are winning we are happy. It's more important to win a few more games under the belt," he said when asked about leaving things till the end.
"In T20 cricket especially when you are batting lower down, it's not easy to get your mindset right, especially when you are a top-order batsman. It took me a little while to get my shape and swing going. I am happy I got a little bit of time today to build my innings so that I could get some big shots towards the end. I have been shaping up the whole year. I am happy with the way I am batting," said Rayudu.
"It's always been even when (Mitchell) Johnson was in our side," said Rayudu over the importance of the Sri Lankan sling-arm pacer with his death bowling for Mumbai. Malinga supported McClenaghan nicely after the Kiwi had got rid of dangerman Samson and Nair to scalp Deepak Hooda, a capable lower order batsman, in the very next over and ensure Mumbai's win.