Mandeep Singh has dedicated his match-winning innings against Kolkata Knight Riders to his late father who passed away a couple of days back. The Kings XI Punjab battled personal grief as he scored an unbeaten half-century helping his team to fifth win on the trot and jump to the fourth spot in the IPL 2020 points table.

“This was very special. My father always used to tell me you should remain not out in the game. This one is for him,” said Mandeep Singh in a post-match interview after KXIP beat KKR by eight wickets on Monday night.

“Even if I scored a double hundred or a hundred, he used to ask me, ‘Why did you go out?’, So I am very happy that I could remain not out in this game,” he added.

Mandeep revealed have spoke to KXIP captain KL Rahul who backed him to play his natural game. And as a result, the Punjab cricketer scored 66 off 56 with eight fours and two sixes.

“I had a talk with Rahul before the start of the game. In the last game, I was trying to score quicker and I wasn’t comfortable doing that. I told Rahul if I play my normal game, I will win the game and I had the belief. He told me to back my game and play the way I want to play; pretty happy with the win,” he said.

Mandeep’s 100-run partnership with Chris Gayle (51 off 29) took the game away from KKR as they chased down a target of 150 comfortably.

“He (Gayle) was just telling me to keep batting and play till the end, and I just told him that he should never retire. He is too good. We are very excited,” he said.

Gayle was glad to have played a significant role in the victory and says he’s been feeling good about his fitness.

“Glad that myself and Mandeep put our hands up. The youngsters in the team are saying ‘Don’t retire.’ That was Mandeep,” said Gayle.

“I have been doing some off the field training with the trainer when I wasn’t playing. I am feeling good, hitting the gym. You have that good feeling about yourself and about the team, capitalising on it as much as possible. We are happy now, but still a long way to go,” he added.