Kings XI Punjab opener Mandeep Singh, who is grieving the loss of his father said he had belief he could win the game in a post-match chat with friend and teammate Chris Gayle after the duo sealed an eight-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League on Monday.

Gayle and Mandeep, who anchored the chase with an unbeaten 66 off 56 balls, shared 100 runs in 10.1 overs to help KXIP jump to the fourth spot by registering their fifth win on the trot.

Mandeep lost his father a couple of days back and he attended his funeral through video call, not leaving the IPL bio bubble in UAE He made a quick 17 against Sunrisers Hyderabad but on Monday he stayed till the end to take the team through.

“Papa used to tell me you should remain not out in all games. Before the game, I told (skipper) KL Rahul that let me play my game, even if I take a few balls, I know I have the belief that I can win games for the team. That’s what I did.

My father will be really happy today that I finished the game and I remained not out,” Mandeep said.

The opener was also all praise for Gayle, who was overlooked and then ill during the first phase of the IPL and has returned with a bang.

The Chris Gayle factor: Behind Kings XI Punjab’s five-match win streak, a hungry ‘Universe Boss’

“I told him that you should never retire, he probably the greatest T20 player ever,” Mandeep said. Gayle was adjudged player of the match for his whirlwind knock, his second fifty in five matches.

“Like I said, he should never retire, he’s always in great touch. I’ve been lucky that I’ve played with the likes of Chris Gayle, AB (de Villiers), (Adam) Gilchrist, Virat Kohli... I started with Chris Gayle in KKR in 2010. I’ve been very fortunate to know him as a friend. He’s so humble, down-to-earth,” Mandeep added.

Mandeep said KXIP were a bit unlucky initially but they always had the self-belief.

“We were a bit unlucky as well initially, but we were playing some good cricket from the start but we need to finish games, whether in batting or bowling,” he said.

“It’s just the self-belief that we showed in the last few games, that no matter what we have to keep fighting in every game. I think that’s about it. Now a bit of luck is also favouring us and we are really happy.”

Mandeep also showered praise on young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who initially turned it around for KXIP with the prized-wicket of KKR skipper Eoin Morgan.

Morgan was looking in ominous form with a 25-ball 40 in an entertaining partnership with Shubman Gill (57) but his departure dented their progress.

“He (Bishnoi) has a big heart. And I remember when I came to the IPL first time in 2010, I was very nervous and couldn’t even talk to senior players. He’s just playing as if he’s playing his fifth IPL. The loss took KKR out of the top-four but opener Gill said they have it in them to qualify,” he said.

“I think we still have two more matches to go and we are pretty confident that we will be able to qualify for the playoffs.”

With PTI Inputs