The biggest modern day cricket extravaganza, IPL has reached its metaphase and returned back to India. The initial bit of the renowned sporting festival was played in the UAE and the matches stood up to the expectations. Journey in UAE was a bag full of emotions; for some like the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), it was a dream run; while for some like the Mumbai Indians, it was a forgettable journey!
Among the teams to beat, KXIP lead the charge but a notable mention is the team of Chennai Superkings (CSK) who are placed at the second position in the points table. CSK did not have the best of the starts but the men in yellow have excelled after the initial defeat by registering 5 consecutive victories! Everyone is talking about their success mantra. Some say it’s the immaculate pace attack, some say it’s the economical spin attack and others say it’s the leadership. But the real major contributing factor has been their batting, their opening. It has been the story of the CSK opening duo Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum in the CSK winning saga.
Dwayne Smith, for some unfathomable reason, has overshadowed his equally capable partner and has become the centre of discussion. But one must not undermine the role played by the “unsung hero” of team Brendon McCullum. No one can keep this man away from IPL after all years ago, it was Brendon McCullum who lit up the inaugural IPL campaign with 158 in 73 balls for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2008. But this year, coming into the tournament with just 85 runs in four innings in the recently concluded t20 world cup, McCullum had a point to prove. It was never going to be an easy task as he was in a totally new atmosphere, a new team.
McCullum, who has previously been a part of Kolkata Knight Riders and Kochi Tuskers, kicked off his CSK outing with a blitzkrieg 67 against KXIP propelling his side to a score past 200! Although it was for a losing cause, his intentions were loud and clear. McCullum used the pull shot to devastating effect. In the match that followed, he managed just 9 runs against the Delhi Daredevils. Another failure awaited him in the game against Rajasthan Royals where he managed just 6 runs. But the man from Dunedin was back in ominous touch against the Mumbai Indians and scored a scintillating unbeaten innings of 71. In the next game, he cracked 40 of 33 balls as the M.S. Dhoni led Chennai Superkings chased down Sunrisers Hyderabad’s 145 to win by 5 wickets with 3 balls to spare at Sharjah. IPL moved to India, but his form showed no dip. The right handed New Zealander slammed a 40 ball 56 to help CSK register a win against KKR at Ranchi and gave CSK their 5th consecutive win this season!
The ICC t20 International Performance of the year (2010) winner, Brendon McCullum has by and large played in the shadow of his burly West Indian opening partner Dwayne Smith. But by the look of things, it seems the brash and brutal blackcap has taken the baton from last year’s CSK wonder opener Mike Hussey. McCullum, a blend of power and elegance, is power personified and certainly the trump card for the Chennai Superkings this summer. Undoubtedly he is the player to watch out for in IPL 2014.
He is an engineering student at Christ University, Bangalore and aspires to become a sagacious writer. Apart from writing, he is obsessed withcricket and computer programming. He writes blogs and other stuff to gain cognizance and expertise at writing.
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