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A third win in nine matches have given Kings XI Punjab a glimmer of hope to qualify for this year’s playoffs. A superb all-round performance from Marcus Stoinis and a brilliant spell of four overs from Mohit Sharma helped KXIP defeat Delhi Daredevils by 9 runs. KXIP bowler Sandeep Sharma heaped praise on both the players for keeping their hopes alive.
Marcus Stoinis hit a 44-ball 52 to register his maiden fifty in the IPL that helped the home team to post a good total 181 for 5 and took 3 wickets for 40 runs off his 4 overs.
Mohit Sharma bowled an economical quota of four overs for just 21 runs to put a lid on the free flow of runs and brought the home team back into the contest to successfully defend 181 runs.
“He (Stoinis) is a unique player. He has adapted very well to Indian conditions. It’s the first time he’s coming to play in India. Today he made a fifty and obviously his bowling was top class. He’s become an asset for Kings XI now,” an elated Sandeep told media after the team’s third win of the tournament.
“When we made 180 runs we had confidence that we could win this match because our bowling has been doing well and we have been bowling well at the death,” he said.
Talking about the turning point of the match, Sandeep said that Sam Billing’s wicket turned the match in his team’s favour.
“I think the turning point was Stoinis’s wickets. The wicket of Billings particularly, he got that and went for less than six runs in that over. And in the next over, Mohit Sharma bowled brilliantly. That was the turning point. When I came to bowl, there were plenty of runs and I had to only save two or three balls for us to win the match,” he explained.
Sandeep also admitted that it is a relief to finally have a win against their name after putting up a consistently improved performance over the last week or so.
“We’ve have been playing good cricket. We came close in a few matches but lost. I think we have now got the right combination and the captain also know how to use bowlers. Our batting is also clicking. Like Maxwell and Miller they didn’t make runs at the start of the tournament, but now they’re also making runs. So that’s a positive sign for us,” Sandeep noted.
“It’s a team game, and we have been bowling well. We’ve been doing that consistently and hopefully we can carry that forward through the tournament,” he added.
Sandeep said that performing well against the top-ranked teams in the last three matches has given his team a lot of confidence. He also said that they are a settled unit now and they will try their best to win the remaining games.
“T20 is a momentum game. If you have the momentum, you win more games in a row. We had played well against Kolkata and even before that we defeated Gujarat when they were at the top of the table. So I think we have got the momentum now. And again like I said, our combination has settled well and our batsmen are also clicking. Hopefully, we can win more matches in the tournament,” the 22-year-old said.
“We aren’t thinking in terms of qualifying or not in this tournament or where we are in the (points) table. The most important thing is to take it match by match, and prepare well for each match. If we play good cricket and win, we’ll automatically rise on the table. But the important thing is to focus match by match,” he concluded.