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On This Day in 2008: Brendon McCullum Blasts 73-Ball 158 to Launch IPL’s Inaugural Season

Lights. Camera. Action. IPL couldn’t have asked for a better start thanks to Brendon McCullum, the lead actor of a contest that would change the global cricket landscape forever. Royal Challengers Bangalore hosted Kolkata Knight Riders for the first ever match of the ambitious Indian Premier League on April 18, 2008 at the iconic M Chinnaswamy Stadium and McCullum hijacked the stage and the headlines with some sensational batting, producing an epic 73-ball 158.

It wasn’t even a year since India won the inaugural ICC World T20 in South Africa that BCCI decided that the stage was set for it to usher in the next era through its now ultra-popular T20 league. But little would they have imagined how dazzling that first chapter would turn out to be. A cursory glance at the contest between RCB and KKR would give an impression of it being a drab affair – a one-sided contest to say the least with Knight Riders storming to a big 140-run win.

However, such was the impact of McCullum’s assault that the result of the contest has been reduced to mere a footnote. The Kiwi wicketkeeper-batter struck 10 fours and 13 sixes, opening the innings with India legend Sourav Ganguly. Not other batter, from either side, crossed 20.

KKR posted a mammoth 222/3 with McCullum making a mockery of a bowling attack comprising the likes of Zaheer Khan, Jacques Kallis and Praveen Kumar.

RCB had a batting line-up littered with superstars including Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Kallis, Mark Boucher among others. They folded for 82 in 15.1 overs against an attack of Ishant Sharma, Ajit Agarkar and Ashok Dinda.

Years later, McCullum reflected on his innings, crediting it for changing his life in the space of just three hours “That night, my life changed completely in the space of those three hours or actually, even an hour and a half. You talk about sliding doors, and moments in your careers and in lives,” McCullum told KKR.

“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,” he added.

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