Captain Virat Kohli praises 'special' Mandeep Singh

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Pune, May 21: An elated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday lauded the efforts of his teammate Mandeep Singh saying he justified his team's decision to rope him in from Kings XI Punjab. (De Villiers gifts his award to Mandeep)

IPL Special; Match Report

Mandeep played a brilliant knock in helping his side beat Rajasthan Royals by 71 runs in the IPL Eliminator at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium here on Wednesday.

Mandeep plays a shot against RR

Reeling at 55/3 at one stage Mandeep and South African AB de Villiers put on a 113-run partnership to help his side post 180/4 at the end of 20 over. Mandeep scored an unbeaten 54 of 34 balls.

The Royals faltered in the chase and were bundled out for 109 in 19 overs.

"We know AB (de Villiers) is the best batsman in the world, but that youngster (Mandeep) showed how special he is today and why we pulled him from Kings XI Punjab," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Speaking about the fitness of his pace spearhead, Kohli said: "He [Starc] is a professional and knows how to manage his workload. The 150 [km per hour] kind of effort was not needed, he is fit and good. He was just going through the motions towards the end."

The skipper added he was disappointed to have not made the cut last year but said he was looking forward to playing in the last two games of the tournament which includes the final, which they can get to by beating beat Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 2 on Friday.

"In 2013 we did not qualify and that hurt. But this year we have played better cricket than the previous seasons. We have won crucial games, boys standing up and delivering for the team. A month and a half of good cricket and now it comes down to this- the last two games," he said.

IANS

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