On April 18, 2008, Brendon McCullum, donning the colours of the Kolkata Knight Riders, scored an unbeaten 158 off just 73 deliveries to set the tone for what the Indian Premier League was going to become, in the first-ever match of the T20 competition.
The annual event has been a constant in the cricket calendar ever since, and has been arguably the most entertaining contest the sport has seen – with the skill and glamour of the biggest names in the sport coming together.
Now, 14 years later to the day, KKR team mentor David Hussey - who played for the team on the opening day in 2008 - interviewed KKR’s head coach McCullum about that historic knock which remains the only century scored by a player from the franchise so far.
“Nobody that supports the IPL or cricket in general realised quite how big this tournament was going to become,” McCullum said to Hussey on the IPL website.
“We all found out that night what it means to all the people who follow cricket in India and around the world. It was nice to play a small hand in that.”
KKR were put into bat by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. McCullum opened the batting along with former India and KKR skipper Sourav Ganguly. The team went on to put up a total of 223/3 after 20 overs, with McCullum’s knock being the highlight of the innings that also saw Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Mohammad Hafeez take to the crease.
“I don’t have too many memories, it went past in a bit of a blur,” added the New Zealander.
“I remember getting the opportunity to bat with (Hussey), Sourav and Ricky. I don’t remember a lot. I do remember being zero off eight balls to start. My mind was ticking, thinking I’ve made a real embarrassment of myself. But I guess it was a bit of fate and things were written in the stars, a little bit of luck to get underway. I just thought I’m going to keep swinging here, and thankfully a few of them came off.”
In reply, RCB were bowled out for 82 in 15.1 overs.
“My memory of the day is, I think we scored an excess of 200 and I remember at half-time thinking we didn’t have enough runs. That’s how little I knew of T20 cricket,” Hussey added.
During the IPL match on Monday between the KKR and Rajasthan Royals, McCullum again was asked about the knock from 14 years ago.
“It’s a night that changed my life,” he said.