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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: 13 years since that McCullum knock

Relive the innings that changed the face of T20 cricket.

IPL 2021: 13 years since that McCullum knock

McCullum redefined batting in T20 cricket that night in Bangalore (Credits: PTI)


Rahul Kargal

Updated: 18 April 2021 11:33 AM GMT

The year was 2008.

India had just opened its eyes to T20 cricket, thanks to MS Dhoni's World Cup win the previous year in South Africa.

Also, cable TV still ruled the national airwaves, Twitter and Facebook were relatively unknown and mobile internet meant 2G.

In this background, Lalit Modi conceptualised the Indian Premier League for the BCCI. Corporate India joined hands with Bollywood and together, they embraced the cricketers in a bear hug.

With that, India's favourite national pass-time was transformed into an annual summer festival.

Lights, camera, action

On April 18, 2008, Kolkata Knight Riders, led by Saurav Ganguly, locked horns with Rahul Dravid's Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The fans packed the stadium and a sense of anticipation soon engulfed the arena.

Years later, those that played on the match on the night, still confess to not knowing how things would pan out despite all their years of experience.

Nobody knew what a good total was. Would singles be the order of the day or should the boundaries be breached at regular intervals?

And not very many knew how to approach bowling in T20 cricket.

Little did anyone know that just after just one inning, the game would have changed beyond anyone's imagination.

Baz takes over

Dravid won the toss and duly put Kolkata in to bat.

For the first five-ball, Brendon McCullum, who came out to open the batting with Ganguly, struggled to put bat to ball.

Then in the second over, the Kiwi attacked Zaheer Khan and carted him for two boundaries.

McCullum had found his footing.

After just 19-balls, he had raced to 40. But he wasn't done just yet.

Rahul Dravid chopped and changed the bowling.

Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan had a go. Then Ashley Noffke and Jacques Kallis, followed by the left-arm spin of Sunil Joshi and a solitary over of nervous leg-spin from Cameron White.

McCullum smashed all of them to virtually every part of the ground.

In all, he hammered 13-sixes and 10-boundaries while striking at a stunning rate of 216.43.

When the innings ended, he walked back a content man - with 158 runs against his name from just 73 deliveries.

Kolkata's scoreboard read 222/3.

The aftermath

Back in 2008, you could be forgiven to think that a fifty-over innings had just played out.

Looking back on the knock, Dravid admits to not knowing how to react at the time.

"It was like a rabbit caught in the headlights," he said in an interview with ESPN Cricinfo.

Ajit Agarkar, who picked up three-wickets that night for Kolkata, recalls being visibly stunned.

"I don't think I have seen too many live innings with that kind of impact where you almost expect that to happen the next ball and it does," he said of the frequency with the New Zealander found the fence.

In response, Rahul Dravid opened the batting with Wasim Jaffer โ€“ not quite the cavalier opening pair you'd think.

A young Virat Kohli walked out at number three, but couldn't make a dent. Wickets fell by the heap.

In 15 overs, Bangalore folded with just 82 on the board.

Kolkata, riding on the McMcullum wave, had stunned Bangalore by a mammoth 140 runs.

The world had just witnessed the first batsman to cross 150 runs in T20 cricket.

In a single inning, Brendon McCullum had changed the game and with it the Indian Premier League.

(With inputs from ESPN Cricinfo).

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