Mandeep, Gayle guide Punjab to victory

Sharjah: Mandeep, Gayle score fifties to power Punjab to eight wicket win against KKR. It has brighten their chances to enter playoffs. They restricted KKR to just 149 in 20 overs. Punjab scored winning runs with seven balls to spare.

Gayle, who was declared Man of the Match, said, ‘I have been doing some off-field training with the trainer when I wasn’t playing. Hitting the gym (laughs). You have to have the good feeling. We are happy now, still a long way to go. It was important to assess the conditions as quickly as possible. Two very good spinners, it was important to adjust quickly. Once you get the first boundary going, I was always going to get into the zone. I eased a bit of pressure off Mandeep, he batted really well and it was a great partnership. Sunil has got me out so many teams. You got to make best use of it because the wicket wasn’t suiting for him. The last game, we told that we wanted to win it for him (Mandeep). Really happy for him. We needed some sort of momentum to get that will power. We need senior players to step up. Glad that me and Mandeep put our hands up.’

KL Rahul, the winning captain, said, ‘We decided to play positive cricket. We believed that things can turn around. A complete team performance. Batting looking good, bowling looking good, fielding has always been good. With the bubble, you don’t have your closed ones. The way he (Mandeep) played, it makes everyone emotional. When you have Anil Kumble as the coach, it’s not surprising that we have two leg-spinners. Complete team effort, a lot of credit has to go to the coaches. It was a very hard decision not to play him (Chris). This is the hungriest I have ever seen him. He’s always positive, pushing the youngsters. We have Chris in the dressing room. Just his presence means a lot to us. When we started five games ago, we knew we had to win all the games. One game at a time, keep the confidence going and keep the energy going.’