Mohali :Chris Gayle bludgeoned his sixth Indian Premier League (IPL) hundred to help Kings XI Punjab beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 15 runs in Mohali.
Gayle scored 104 not out off 63 balls, containing 11 sixes and one four, as KXIP hit 193-3 after becoming the first team to win the toss and elect to bat first in this year’s competition.
The West Indies opener was particularly harsh on Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, clubbing six sixes off him, including four in the 14th over.
“I think (director of cricket operations) Virender Sehwag saved the IPL by picking me (in the January auctions),” said Gayle. “Everyone says I have a lot to prove. I am just here to put some respect on my name.”
The ‘Universal Boss’ went unsold in the first round of bidding in this year’s IPL auctions, but Kings XI?Punjab decided to buy him in the next round and Virender Sehwag played a big role in his selection.
Sunrisers Hyderabad could only manage 178-4 in reply as it plunged to its first defeat in the competition.
The Sunrisers suffered a big blow early on when opener Shikhar Dhawan was hit on his left elbow and retired hurt without scoring.
Kane Williamson (54) and Manish Pandey (57 not out) put on 76 for the third wicket although their partnership was a bit too slow as the asking rate mounted.
Pandey also added a quickfire 45 in 22 balls for the fifth wicket with Shakib Al Hasan (24 not out) but Punjab held its nerve.
“Hats off to Chris, he was at his best,” captain Williamson said. “It was a fantastic hundred and they deserved the win. We weren’t up to the mark tonight.”