Happy Birthday Brendon McCullum: 5 Dazzling Innings by The New Zealand Great That Left the Opposition Awestruck
Former New Zealand Skipper Brendon McCullum celebrates his 38th birthday on Friday. Born on September 27, 1981, the cricketer had been an adept batsman and a great captain. The Otago-born player made his debut as a wicket-keeper batsman and went on to become one of the greats of the game. McCullum has played several fiery innings in his staggering career and his hitting might still haunt many bowlers. McCullum was also a great leader and the first skipper to guide New Zealand in a world cup final. The right-handed batsman played many positions in his career and proved his mettle in every spot.
The dasher made his international debut in 2002 and his mission to demolish the opposition began. Many believe that McCullum's batting style can thrive only in limited-over formats, but the batsman proved them wrong and played many blistering innings in Test too. However, McCullum will be remembered for his sensational record in the shorter formats of the game. He was also the highest run-scorer in T20Is for almost a decade, before his former teammate Martin Guptill went past his tally in 2018.
Along with the international format, the batsman displayed his blitz in T20 leagues around the world too. Mccullum has sensational numbers in prominent tournaments like Indian Premier League, Big Bash and Caribbean Premiers League which made the cricketer a global superstar. Talking about McCullum's swashbuckling batting style, let's look at five fiery knocks played by the New Zealand great.
77 off 25 balls against England
This innings of McCullum might still be haunting the England bowlers as they became the victim of the Kiwi skipper's carnage. The England vs New Zealand clash witnessed a one-sided affair as Eoin Morgan and Co. were completely outplayed by the Blackcaps. After getting dismissed for 123 in the first innings, the English bowlers were tormented by Brendon Mcculum's storm who rained fours and sixes in the whole Wellington stadium. The skipper brought up his fifty in a mere 18 deliveries and guided New Zealand to a comfortable eight-wicket victory.
59 off 26 Against South Africa
The 2015 World Cup semi-final clash between South Africa and New Zealand was an absolute thriller. The game might be remembered for Grant Elliot's fantastic innings but the tone was set by the McCullum. Chasing a revised target of 298 in the second innings, the Kiwi skipper went off to a flier and smashed the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. The veteran brought up his fifty from just 22 balls and eased the chase for New Zealand. Later, the Blackcaps just managed to cross the line and won the match by four wickets.
145 off 79 Against Australia
The right-handed batsman scripted history in his last Test match and played a fantastic innings. The occasion was the second Test of Australia's 2016 Tour of New Zealand and McCullum came into bat after a top-order collapse. Despite the critical situation, the veteran backed his natural game and hassled the Aussie bowlers. The skipper completed his ton in mere 54 deliveries, which is the fastest by any batsmen in Tests. However, the effort went in vain as Australia clinched the match by seven wickets.
123 off 58 Against Bangladesh
Another, McCullum's masterclass came when New Zealand faced Bangladesh in the ICC World T20 2012. Coming to bat at number three, McCullum took the opposition bowlers by storm and the Pallekele crowd witnessed a miraculous knock. The skipper cleared the boundaries with ease and brought up his second T20I century. The effort proved to be fruitful as Blackcaps put up 191 runs in the first innings and won the match by 59 runs.
158 off 73 Against Royal Challengers Bengaluru
Who can forget this massacre by McCullum in the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League in 2008? The right-handed batsman opened the innings for Kolkata Knight Riders and played a blinder. The batsmen took on the likes of Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar and ran a one-man show. The batsmen registered a sensational ton and even went on to cross the 150 run mark. Courtesy McCullum's stellar knock, the Knight Riders piled up 222 in the first innings, which proved to be too much for the hosts as they lost the match by 140 runs.
The Kiwi great announced retirement from all formats of the game in August 2019 and gave great relief to bowlers around the world. The former cricketer was one of the most destructive batsmen to have graced the game and also played a significant role in New Zealand's rise in international cricket. Currently, McCullum is serving CPL's team Trinbago Knight Riders as head coach and will look to guide the team to the title.