Five remarkable innings of Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum is a spectator’s delight. He is brash, brutal and brilliant to watch. He can murder bowlers like few other men in international cricket.
It is the brand new version of Brendon McCullum. The wicket keeper batsman of New Zealand made his career debut in 2002 as an opener against Australia. But, batted in various positions, after failing to cope with the new ball. McCullum, under the captaincy of Stephen Fleming, played at no. 9 as well, but never being dropped from the team.
First two years of his career did not even show, how explosive his batting could be. The reason maybe was his batting position which was often 7 or 8 or even lower. However, in 2006 after the end of ICC Champions Trophy in India Brendon McCullum was elevated to open.
His batting style has changed, he opted more open and aggressive style of batting. With the each passing day his batting became destructive. He is a headache to bowlers, literally. After the 2011 World Cup, he was handed the captaincy that also made an impact on his batting.
Here we relive top five innings of Brendon McCullum, who is celebrating his 34th birthday today.
1) 80 off 28 balls
In the year 2007, Brendon McCullum displayed to the world his new batting style. He flopped in that World Cup. But, he opened a new era when New Zealand toured South Africa. The big inning was just around the corner. His form was also good in Australia tour. But, the best of his form came when New Zealand played Bangladesh at home. It was the third and final ODI of the series. Bangladesh already lost the series 2-0. Going into the third match they have nothing to lose. Demoralised, Bangladesh were bundled out for paltry 93.
A boring match. But, BrendonMcCullum entertained the Queenstown spectators with a stormy innings of 80 off 28 balls. The other opener Jamie How scored only 7 runs and spent most of the time watching McCullum typhoon. New Zealand took only seven overs to win the match. Bangladesh used four bowlers, none of the bowlers conceded less than 10 runs per over. New Zealand won the match by 10 wickets with 264 balls remaining.
2. 116 off 56 balls
New Zealand were playing Australia in the second T20 at Christchurch. The first match was won by Australia. In the second match, which poised into a thriller, New Zealand bounced back with the help of brutal batting of Brendon McCullum. Opener McCullum already proved himself as one of the destructive T20 batsmen in the world, hit Shun Tait 155 kmph delivery over the wicket-keeper Brad Haddin for a huge six.
McCullum was at his destructive best, he was butchering Australian bowling attack led by Tait. He rattled them with sixes and fours. He hit 12 boundaries and 8 sixes on the way to his 116 off 56 balls. But, Australia tied the match. New Zealand won the match by one over eliminator.
3. 123 off 58 balls
It was the 2012 ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka. New Zealand and Bangladesh confronted each other for a group D match in Pallekele. New Zealand batting first scored 191. The man of the match was Brendon McCullum. He hit seven sixes and 11 boundaries on the way to his 123. The 2012 World T20, Chris Gayle of West Indies was also entertained fans. But, McCullum’s this inning had intensified the competition between him and Gayle. Gayle, though, had the last laugh as WI defeated Sri Lanka to clinch their maiden World T20 trophy.
4. 77 off 25 balls
It was the World Cup 2015, Pool A match against England, who were low on confidence. First Tim Southee rattled them taking seven wickets conceding just 33 runs, and bowled out England for only 123, then Brendon McCullum punished their bowlers. So, at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, victory was imminent for New Zealand. But, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was in no mood to mercy England bowlers. He started slamming them from the first ball with a boundary. James Anderson, Sturat Broad and Steven Finn were looking hapless as McCullum was punishing them. Finn conceded 49 runs in just 2 overs as another opener Martin Guptil, who was also in his best form, battered English bowlers on the way to their victory inside 13 overs.
McCullum hit seven sixes and eight boundaries before Chris Woakes bowled him.
5. 59 off 26 balls
McCullum has played many innings like this. But, this innings has different significance as it was the first semi-final of the 2015 World Cup. They were playing South Africa. Both, New Zealand and South Africa never qualified in the final. So, they wanted to break the jinx. South Africa batting first were marching towards big innings, captain AB de Villiers was in full flow, but the rain ruined their party. South Africa was given just 281 onboard as per D/L method. However, it was a big total. Opener McCullum knew that he had to produce another explosive show. He had two plans in mind – one was to rattle Dale Steyn and second was a good start to New Zealand’s chase. He was successful. He played 26 balls and hit four sixes and eight boundaries before Morne Morkel stopped him. But, the job was not done as other kiwi batsman, especially Grant Elliot, who hit a six over long-on boundary off Steyn to seal the match, gave New Zealand the moment to enjoy. Who can forget that image Steyn laid down on the crease and Elliot was offering his hand to devastated Steyn instead of celebrating the victory?