McCullum's top five T20 hits feat. IPL, BBL, T20 Blast, HRV Cup
On his decision to retire, we look at Brendon McCullum's five most memorable T20 knocks
Brendon McCullum was one of the most destructive T20 batsmen, having left an unforgettable imprint on various leagues around the world. As the former New Zealand captain, one of the earliest trailblazers in T20 cricket, is set to retire after the ongoing Global T20 Canada, ESPNcricinfo picks out five of his most memorable T20 knocks.
That innings in the inaugural game of the Indian Premier League was a microcosm of his career: smash the ball fearlessly. The ferocity of the assault is such that his score has been bettered only once - by another T20 superstar Chris Gayle - in 11 seasons of the IPL. McCullum later said that his 158* changed his life; it changed the T20 landscape as well.
He began by playing out five dots against the moving ball in the first over, but exploded in the next, carting Zaheer Khan for four successive boundaries. There would be no stopping him. He unleashed familiar down-the-track swings and rasping slog-sweeps, but it was the outrageous scoop over his left shoulder off Zaheer that left some of our collective jaws on the floor.
His first fifty took 32 balls, the second only 21 and third a mere 17 balls. Sure, the boundaries at the Chinnaswamy Stadium are small, but it was a mighty innings that headlined the advent of the IPL and provided a peek into the future.
Reprising his otherworldly hitting in the first game of the IPL, McCullum marked his home debut in Birmingham with the then highest individual T20 score in England. After Warwickshire were sent in, Baz(ooka) launched himself on Derbyshire's attack and never let up. By 10 overs, Warwickshire were 117 for 0 with McCullum claiming 71 off those in 31 balls. He more than doubled that score in the last 10, propelling Warwickshire to 242 for 2 - their highest T20 total.
Northern Districts had an international-quality attack comprising Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Scott Styris and Daniel Vettori, but McCullum's brutal ball-striking made a mockery of them and a target of 188. He walked out to bat at No.3, after opener Hamish Ruthreford was run-out for a duck in the first over, and wasn't dismissed as Otago secured the chase with nine wickets and 16 balls to spare.
McCullum teed off - like only he can - against Southee and Boult, leaving the sparse crowd, scoreboard and even the food and bar tent in danger. The shot of the day came when he came down - no, raced down the track - and clouted Southee way beyond the midwicket boundary.
McCullum's ultra-fast hands came to the fore again, this time on a scorching day in Chennai at the IPL. He regularly dashed down the track against Boult and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and even stood just outside the leg stump against legspinner Karn Sharma to throw them off their lines and lengths.
McCullum ticked off nearly every shot: slog-sweeps into the deserted leg-side stands, drives over covers, pulls over square leg and even a scarcely-believable ramp over the keeper's head off a slower bouncer from Boult in the final over of the innings. He reached his second IPL hundred - and first for Super Kings - off the last ball of the innings and vaulted them to 209, which proved 45 too many for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Twenty-four hours out from the 2017 New Year celebrations, McCullum provided the fireworks along with his Bash brother Chris Lynn. In a chase of 174, McCullum swung through his hips and began with a signature first-ball four. His second ball, bowled by left-arm spinner Clive Rose was then rifled behind point for four, but it was the down-the-track 104-metre six off Stuart Broad that turned out to be the portent for the carnage that was to follow.
He could have been dismissed on 22 had Kumar Sangakkara clung onto a catch, and McCullum ran up a 27-ball half-century instead. By the time he holed out for 72, Heat needed 56 off 60 balls, and Lynn finished the job.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo