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OTD in 2008: Brendon McCullum starts Indian Premier League with a bang in Bengaluru

McCullum (Source -Twitter/X)

April 18th marks the beginning of a historic chapter in Indian cricket as the seeds for the Indian Premier League (IPL) to become the biggest cricketing league in the world were sown on this day way back in 2008. After a successful never-seen-before players’ auction held in Mumbai where several big names were sold for big bucks, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) finally got the tournament underway at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

Ahead of the game, BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) introduced fans to the razzmatazz of the T20 league with a grandiose opening ceremony. RCB captain Rahul Dravid won the first-ever toss of IPL and invited KKR to bat first as fans waited with bated breath to witness the historic beginning of the cricketing extravaganza.

Kolkata captain Sourav Ganguly walked out to bat with his opening partner Brendon McCullum, the Kiwi international star who didn’t have great numbers to show for himself in the first six years of international cricket.

However, in a few minutes time, McCullum’s life was to change forever as he announced himself on the grand stage of the IPL with a mind-boggling innings of 158* off 73 balls smashing 10 fours and 13 sixes and helped his side post a humongous score of 222/3 in their 20 overs.

Also Read: Who was the first player to be sold at IPL auction in 2008? Unknown facts of first IPL auction on 16th anniversary

The right-handed batter was a bit circumspect at the start playing six dot balls up front but later got into the groove smashing Zaheer Khan for 18 runs in the second over of the innings.

With him at the crease, KKR could afford four quiet overs as the Kiwi star completed his fifty off just 32 balls. Following his half-century, the carnage began again as he registered the maiden hundred of the tournament in the next 21 deliveries. The Dunedin-born cricketer went on to etch his name with golden words in IPL history with his swashbuckling innings.

In the second innings, RCB succumbed under the huge scoreboard pressure and were bundled out for 82 setting up a massive 140-run win for KKR. McCullum’s 158* stood as the highest individual score of the tournament for six years until surpassed by Chris Gayle (175* off 66) at the same venue in 2013. Furthermore, he remained the lone centurion for KKR for almost 15 years until Venkatesh Iyer broke the jinx with his innings of 104 (51) vs Mumbai Indians at Wankhede Stadium on April 16, 2023.

Also Read: Top 3 Fastest Centuries for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL history

IPL is the second-most valued sporting league in the world

McCullum’s innings set the tone for the rest of the tournament as IPL successfully passed the audition test for the Indian crowd. The league today stands as the second most valued sporting league in terms of per-match value behind the National Football League (NFL) of the USA. In the 16 glorious chapters of the T20 extravaganza and the 17th underway, several unknown Indian players have showcased their skills against the biggest names of international cricket and took a giant leap to don the Indian jersey.

IPL stays true to its tagline “Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi’ which translates to “Where talent meets opportunity”, giving a platform for countless Indian and international stars to showcase their talent at a global level. 

With the ever-growing popularity of the league, there are many more golden chapters yet to be written in the IPL folklore as the tournament continues to rule the hearts of the cricketing fraternity.

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