Kings XI Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh on Saturday heaped praise on Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene whose quickfire innings of 28-ball 43 under pressure ensured their side's three-wicket victory over Deccan Chargers.
Chasing 169, Kings XI were in trouble at 86 for four at the strategy break after Yuvraj himself and Kumar Sangakkara were out in the space of two balls and one run but Jayawardene took the side to the threshold of victory with a blistering innings before the lower order finished off the match.
"After I was out in the 10th over I told the batsmen to stitch a partnership. Mahela and Irfan (Pathan) did that and the lower order had a few hits at the boundary," he said.
"Mahela played an outstanding innings and he has been consistent all along and doing well for us under pressure," Yuvraj said after the match.
The return of Australian pacer Brett Lee has added the sting to the Kings XI Punjab attack and Yuvraj understandably was happy with that.
"It a good thing (Lee's return). We are getting better (in bowling), getting better at the death overs. If bowling at the death is sorted out, batting can take control of the match later," said Yuvraj.
Man-of-the-match Jayawardene said he had wanted to stay till the end but could not though the lower order did well to finish off the match.
"I had to be there till the end after Yuvraj and Sangakkara were out but I could not. Fortunately, the lower order were able to finish off the match," he said.
"Run chase is all about planning. After the 10th over I and Irfan spoke to each other to score at six to seven an over for another five overs. We were always ahead of that target but unfortunately I could not last till the end," said the former Sri Lanka captain.
Deccan Chargers captain Adam Gilchrist said despite the loss, his side was still in the hunt for a semifinal spot as the tournament was still wide open.
"It was an exciting game of cricket though we lost. It (tournament) is still wide open. Everybody is in the mix and every team is in the tournament," he said.
Asked about the wicket, he said, "It was a funny wicket. I won't say that the ball came to the bat. But, as Mahela (Jayawardene) showed batsmen can clear the ropes."