Chris Gayle was in imperious form for the Kings XI Punjab on Thursday. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

NEW DELHI – Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, who struggled to find an Indian Premier League team, smashed the first century of this season on Thursday to prove his worth to Kings XI Punjab.

His spectacular unbeaten 104 -- with 11 sixes and one four sprayed around the ground off 63 balls -- helped the unfancied Punjab inflict the first defeat of the 2018 IPL on Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“A lot of people thought I'm too old. After this innings, I have nothing to prove,” the 38-year-old Gayle said after the 15-run win late Thursday.

Gayle was only selected in the third round of bidding for players by IPL teams for the 2018 season. Punjab signed him for just the $314,000 reserve price in the January auction.

He has made only two appearances so far but played a big innings each time. The opener blasted 63 off 33 balls in his side's win over Chennai Super Kings on the weekend.

“I'm always determined, wherever I go in the world and whichever franchise I represent,” the destructive left-hander said.

Kings XI advisor Virender Sehwag was instrumental in the team's late bid for Gayle at the auction and he can now expect talks with the batsman.

“Sehwag said in an interview: 'If Chris wins you two games, we have our money's worth'. I need to have a chat with him about that!” Gayle commented.

It was Gayle's sixth IPL hundred and 21st in the 20-over format. Hyderabad had won their previous three games before the match. Punjab made 193 for three and then restricted Kane Williamson's Sunrisers to 178 for four.

The IPL is now in its 11th season with 60 matches over 51 days. 

There are eight million dollars in prizes at stake -– including four million for the winning team. The final takes place on May 27 in Mumbai.