A T20 giant, Brendon McCullum (9,922 runs from 370 T20s at 29.97) played multiple power-packed knocks in his career, but his 73-ball 158* blitz in the first-ever IPL encounter was the most impactful.
There was little doubt that T20, as a format, was a hit with the Indian audience, especially after Mahi's young brigade trumped arch-rivals Pakistan to lift the T20 World Cup trophy in the inaugural edition of the ICC event. However, with crores of rupees spent in setting up the Indian Premier League, whether or not the league would pick up pace straight away was still up in the air.
In this match, the IPL predictions would certainly not have predicted what was about to happen……
Kolkata Knight Riders 222/3(20 Overs) - Brendon McCullum* 158 (73), Ricky Ponting 20 (20); Zaheer Khan 1/38(4), Ashley Noffke 1/40(4)
Royal Challengers Bangalore 82(15.1 Overs) - Praveen Kumar* 18 (15), Ashley Noffke 9 (10); Ajit Agarkar 3/25(4), Ashok Dinda 2/9(3)
Player of the Match - Brendon McCullum
Result - Kolkata Knight Riders won by 140 runs
As the first-ever ball of the Indian Premier League was bowled at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in the encounter between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, all the apprehension evaporated in no time.
Arguably the fiercest hard-hitting batsman in world cricket at the time, Brendon McCullum walked out to open the KKR innings with Sourav Ganguly. McCullum smashed everything on offer and added 61 runs for the first wicket in just 5.2 overs.
The ball kept flying to the boundary and the jam-packed stadium kept going crazy. That IPL would be a massive success became a no-brainer.
Fall of wickets: 1-61 (Sourav Ganguly, 5.2 ov), 2-112 (Ricky Ponting, 12.1 ov), 3-172 (David Hussey, 17.1 ov)
RCB did have a couple of quality Indian quicks in Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar and a top all-rounder in Jacques Kallis, but that day in Bengaluru was not the one to be a bowler, of any kind or pedigree.
"You talk about sliding doors, and moments in your careers and in lives," McCullum told kkr.in on the anniversary of his trailblazing innings. "That night, my life changed completely in the space of those three hours or actually, even an hour and a half.
"Why was I the one who got that opportunity to be able to go and face [the] first [delivery] with Sourav Ganguly? How did I get a chance to play in the first game, have the first opportunity to bat in such a huge tournament for world cricket? How was I even able to grab that opportunity? How much luck did I have along the way? Honestly, I don't know the answers to any of these, but what I do know is that it changed my life forever."
The Royal Challengers Bangalore innings imploded for just 82 as KKR romped home with a 140-run win, all thanks to Baz. The IPL was here to stay.
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Rahul Dravid, 1.1 ov), 2-9 (Virat Kohli, 2.2 ov), 3-24 (Jacques Kallis, 4.5 ov), 4-24 (Wasim Jaffer, 5.2 ov), 5-38 (Mark Boucher, 7.5 ov), 6-38 (Balachandra Akhil, 8.2 ov), 7-43 (Cameron White, 8.6 ov), 8-57 (Ashley Noffke, 11.1 ov), 9-70 (Zaheer Khan, 13.1 ov), 10-82 (Sunil Joshi, 15.1 ov)
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Jacques Kallis, Wasim Jaffer, Sunil Joshi, Ashley Noffke, Mark Boucher (wk), Cameron White, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid (c)
Kolkata Knight Riders - Murali Kartik, Ajit Agarkar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Laxmi Shukla, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Mohammad Hafeez, David Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, Sourav Ganguly (c)
Match: RCB vs KKR, 1st match, Indian Premier League 2008
Date: Friday, April 18, 2008
Toss: Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss and opt to bowl
Venue: M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Umpires: Asad Rauf, Rudi Koertzen
Third Umpire: Amiesh Saheba
Match Referee: Javagal Srinath