McCullum’s ton crushes Bangalore in IPL opener

April 19th, 2008 - 1:20 am ICT by admin  

(Roundup)

Bangalore, April 18 (IANS) New Zealander Brendon McCullum hammered Twenty20 cricket’s highest ever score, an unbeaten 158, as Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Bangalore Royal Challengers by 140 runs in the opening Indian Premier League (IPL) match here Friday night. McCullum was adjudged the Man of the Match for his breathtaking innings, during which he cracked 10 boundaries and 13 sixes in front of a boisterous crowd at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Also present to cheer teams were their owners - Vijay Mallya of the United Breweries group for the home team and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for the Koklata squad.

After being put into bat by Bangalore captain Rahul Dravid, Kolkata Knight Riders posted 222 for three wickets in 20 overs and then bowled out the hosts for 82 in just 15.1 overs.

It was a lucky day for McCullum, who also keeps wickets for New Zealand. He might not have opened the innings had the hard-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle arrived for the lung opener. But the 26-year-old right-hander grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he opened the innings with Ganguly (10) and raised 61.

McCullum was, in fact, involved in four successive 50-plus partnerships. He also added 51 for the second wicket with Australia captain Ricky Ponting (20), 60 for the third with David Hussey (12), also an Australian, and an unbeaten 50 for the fourth with Pakistani Mohammed Hafeez (5 not out).

All six Bangalore Royal Challengers bowlers got hammered badly by a rampaging McCullum.

And when the host batted, Kolkata Knight Riders simply pinned their batsmen down with their sharp bowling and sharp fielding. The Kolkata side took almost all the catches offered, except for the one dropped by Ponting.

Bangalore’s miserable performance was evident from the fact that pacer Praveen Kumar, who had earlier in the evening bowled the first ball of the lucrative tournament, was the only batsman to reach double figures. He remained unbeaten on 18 (15 balls, 1×4, 2×6s). ‘Extras’ was the highest contributor with 19.

India discard Ajit Agarkar bagged three wickets for 25 while debutant pacer Ashok Dinda and Ganguly captured two wickets apiece.

The IPL has brought together some of the fiercest players from the world over. It was, for instance, unimaginable to have Ganguly and Ponting, who have contested many a battle for their countries and also the 2003 World Cup final, hug and embrace each other when Bangalore batted.

When Ganguly bowled Zaheer Khan, Ponting ran in and gave the former India captain a warm hug, sporting a big smile, while Shah Rukh Khan danced in the stands.

The match was preceded by a glamorous opening ceremony that contained fabulous fireworks.

The 45-day tournament will have 59 matches, with the final slated for June 1 in Mumbai.

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