Chris Gayle made the ultimate impact upon his return to the Kings XI Punjab side on Thursday night as they claimed their second win of the 2020 Indian Premier League season.
The West Indian self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ smashed five sixes as he amassed 53 from 45 balls in his first game of the 2020 IPL season, helping Kings XI get past Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets on the final ball.
Gayle was run out on the penultimate ball, leaving Nicholas Pooran on strike and needing one run to win, which he hit for six to clinch the victory.
But Gayle’s half-century alongside KR Rahul’s 61no and opener Mayank Agarwal’s 45 from 25 balls were critical in chasing down RCB’s 6-171 where Kohli top scored with 48.
Kings XI Punjab have had a woeful season, sitting at 1-6 coming into this match, and remain last despite the win, but they’ll be optimistic moving forward with 41-year-old Gayle in the side.
“Not really nervous,” Gayle said. “I mean, come on, It’s Universe Boss batting, how can I be nervous.
“It was a very sticky surface, very slow, but it was better batting second. The team asked me to do a job at three and it wasn’t an issue.
“Openers have been batting well throughout the tournament and we didn’t want to disturb that. Like I said, I was given a job and took it.”
Gayle made a gesture during his innings, pointing to his ‘Universe Boss’ sticker on his bat after another boundary and he explained why after the match.
“All I was saying, put some respect on the name (by pointing to the sticker)]. That’s all,” he said.
Meanwhile, the defeat leaves Kohli’s RCB in third with a 5-3 record. The Indian captain defended the decision to drop AB de Villiers down to bat at six, despite his outstanding half-century earlier this week.
“We had a chat, a message from outside about left-right combination and we wanted to go with it because they had two leggies,” Kohli said.
“Sometimes things don’t come off. We’re pretty happy with the decisions we took, but it didn’t come off.”