The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) juggernaut continued to roll on Monday as they crushed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by eight wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match and brightened their chances of securing a playoff berth.
It was Punjab's fifth win on the trot while KKR, who slumped to the fifth position, suffered their sixth defeat of the season. Both teams have 12 points each, though Punjab climbed to the fourth spot, thanks to their better net-run rate (-0.049). KKR have a net run rate of -0.479.
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While Chris Gayle was named Man of the Match for his 51 off 29 balls, the star for Punjab was also Mandeep Singh who scored an unbeaten half century, after coming in to open in place for the injured Mayank Agarwal.
The 28-year-old from Punjab had lost his father before Punjab’s last match and after the 66 on Monday, he dedicated his innings to his father.
“This was very special. My father always used to tell me you should remain not out in the game. I finished the game. This one is definitely for him. Even if I scored a double hundred or a hundred, he used to ask me, 'Why did you go out?',” he said during the post-match presentation.
Speaking about his innings, Mandeep said he had a word with skipper and opening partner KL Rahul before the innings about the pace he wanted to bat on.
“My role was to score quicker, but I wasn't comfortable doing it. So I told Rahul if I play my natural game, I can see this through. So he was okay with me taking my time and he went after the bowling. I just told Chris he should never retire. He is the World Boss. He is too good,” added Mandeep.
The outcome of the game means the mid-table traffic further intensifies with Rajasthan Royals (RR) - they have 10 points from 12 games -- and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) -- eight points from 11 matches -- still holding a slender chance of making it to the playoffs.
Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, and Royal Challengers Bangalore are the top three teams with 14 points each. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs.
. Read more on IPL by The Quint.Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just For You‘Father Wanted Me to Always Stay Not Out,’ Says Mandeep After 66* . Read more on IPL by The Quint.