Photo credit: BCCI/

They said he was done. That he is not the same force of terror anymore. That he got picked up at his base price in the third round of bidding at the VIVO Indian Premier League auction, so maybe teams don’t need him anymore. But the Universe Boss is never one to be discounted, as he proved in his debut for Kings XI Punjab on Sunday night, as his Man of the Match display helped set the platform for a close four-run win.

One of the two changes for the home game against Chennai Super Kings, Chris Gayle came into the side in place of Marcus Stoinis! The easy-going Jamaican has shown his credentials against KXIP in the past, and it was now time for him to shine for them.

Opening the batting along with Lokesh Rahul, the pair put up 96 in barely 8 overs for the opening partnership, with Gayle hitting the ball as cleanly as ever. When he got off the mark with a four off his first ball bowled by Harbhajan Singh, it was an ominous sign for the CSK players and their fans.

With 7 fours and 3 sixes, Gayle brought up his 50 in merely 22 balls and set the foundation for a massive score on a good batting track.

However, the Gayle who is so well known to go ballistic, also showed another side to his batting by showing the willingness to just defend the tougher deliveries, rotate the strike, and also run for the other batsman’s runs.

“This morning, I got a text saying that you will be playing today, so I wanted to grab the opportunity with both hands,” said the 38-year-old youngster who ended up scoring 63 off just 33 balls. “I have been waiting patiently, and I got the chance today, so I made the most out of it.

“The fans want to see a bit of the Universe Boss, so I am giving them just that,” he asserted with that warm, wide smile of his.