Brendon McCullum stole the show with a crushing century to lead the BLACKCAPS to victory over Bangladesh in their first match of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Coming in at number three, McCullum struck a breath-taking 123 off 58 balls as the BLACKCAPS put on 191 for three in the first innings. In response Bangladesh fell 61 runs short at 132 for eight.
It was always going to be a struggle for the sub-continent team chasing such a high total, but they’ll take some encouragement from the batting of Nasir Hossain who showed great resilience in his 50 from 39 balls.
Support was hard to come by though, with Mohammad Ashraful the next highest scorer with 21.
Tim Southee put in a great performance with the ball for the BLACKCAPS and finished with figures of three for 16 off four overs. On any other day Southee may have been a contender for Man of the Match, but considering the fireworks that had been on display earlier this just wasn’t in the picture.
The Kiwis were put in to bat by Bangladesh on the wicket at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and certainly made the most of the situation.
It started shakily, with Martin Guptill departing for 11 following a huge six over long-on. Bangladesh shouldn’t have celebrated too much though, as his dismissal saw the arrival of McCullum and he was in a volatile mood.
He and James Franklin quickly developed a useful partnership and set the foundation for a big total. The first milestone to be ticked off the checklist was McCullum becoming the first player to pass 1500 runs in International Twenty20 cricket.
While Franklin caressed the ball around the park at close to the run-a-ball mark, McCullum wasn’t feeling nearly as patient. The dynamic right-hander was at his innovative best early on, with his 50 coming off 34 balls - but the real destruction was yet to come.
Raw power, reverse sweeps and what can only be described as an overhead tennis shot were all a part of an innings which became more explosive with every ball that passed.
With ten balls remaining, McCullum brought up his ton off just 51 balls – the second fastest in International Twenty20 history. He also became the only player to have scored two centuries at that level.
Having surpassed triple digits the 30 year old continued to bruise the Bangladesh bowlers as he found the boundary with incredible consistency.
He was eventually dismissed off the final ball of the innings, but not before he had slammed the ball across the rope on 11 occasions and completely cleared it on seven. In doing so he secured one more landmark by reaching the highest ever International Twenty20 total with 123 off 58 balls.
It was the most belligerent of performances and will put opposing teams on red alert about the danger McCullum possesses.
Individual brilliance was the story of the night, but Franklin (35) and Taylor (14*) also contributed as the BLACKCAPS finished at 193 for three.
It was a dream start for the Kiwi side, who will now look forward to facing Pakistan on Sunday.