Mandeep Singh reached his 50 off 49 balls on Monday in Sharjah and looked towards the sky, dedicating this milestone to his late father who died on Saturday back home in Chandigarh. Mandeep, hundreds of miles absent from circle of relatives in the UAE, turned out to play for Kings XI Punjab on the same day. His captain at KXIP, KL Rahul, committed the team’s come-from-behind win over SunRisers Hyderabad to Mandeep’s father. On Tuesday, Mandeep turned out again to open the innings, with his team chasing 150 against Kolkata Knight Riders for a place in the top four, and saw his team home with an unbeaten 66.
“My father all the time used to tell me to remain not out in each and every game,” Mandeep said after the match. “He all the time used to tell me, if you score 100 or 200, you will have to be not out.”
Mandeep combined with skipper Rahul to add 47 runs in the first eight overs to lay a platform for the middle order to capitalize. Chris Gayle (51 off 29 balls) did more than capitalizing as he smashed the KKR bowlers to all parts in a knock laden with two fours and five sixes.
“I had a talk with (KL) Rahul before the start of the game. Final game I used to be trying to score quicker and I wasn’t comfortable doing that,” Mandeep said.
“I told Rahul whether I play my normal game, I will be able to win the game and I had the belief. He (Rahul) told me to back my game and play the way I wish to play, pretty happy with the win.
“(Gayle) used to be just telling me to retain batting and play till the end.”
Social media used to be abuzz with tributes and applause for Mandeep, who braved a personal loss to play a match-winning inning for his team.
“Mannered played warrior,” wrote Shikhar Dhawan in an Instagram story he posted that had a screengrab of Mandeep batting in Monday’s match.
“This one’s for you Dad” wrote IPL in an Instagram post with a video of Mandeep celebrating his 50 together with Gayle.
The IPL also posted a video of the Kings XI squad huddling on Mandeep to congratulate him on what would have been an emotional knock.
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