Brendon the Brutal

Motoring McCullum is majestic to watch, says Athers

Last Updated: 21/09/12 2:29pm

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McCullum: the first man to score two Twenty20 international hundreds

McCullum: the first man to score two Twenty20 international hundreds

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Brendon McCullum's historic 123 against Bangladesh featured some "incredible hitting" and confirms him as the batsman to emulate in Twenty20 cricket, said Michael Atherton.

"McCullum's clearly a fine cricketer in any form of the game, but from the moment that he scored that 158 in the first season of the IPL he's lit up Twenty20."
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New Zealander McCullum smashed seven sixes and 11 fours off 58 balls to register the highest individual score in T20 internationals and his second hundred in the 20-over format following the unbeaten 116 he scored against Australia in Christchurch in 2010.

McCullum also holds the record for the highest score in the IPL after hitting 158no for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL in 2008.

The 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman powered to three figures with consecutive fours off Elias Sunny - reaching the milestone off 51 balls - then celebrated in style by smashing the next delivery for six.

He continued to motor before falling to the final delivery of the innings, caught by Tamim Iqbal off Abdur Razzak, leaving New Zealand on 191-3 off their allotted overs. It proved to be more than enough as Bangladesh mustered 132-8 despite 50 off 39 balls from Nasir Hossain and lost by 59 runs.

"McCullum's a player whose whole reputation has been elevated by Twenty20 cricket," said Atherton.

"He's clearly a fine cricketer in any form of the game, but from the moment that he scored that 158 in the first season of the IPL he's lit up Twenty20 - he's been the man. There was some incredible hitting. He hit the ball ferociously hard.

"It was clearly a good score by New Zealand but the only thing you'd say is that with him [coming in] at three is Ross Taylor under-utilised [at four]?

"Taylor played an innings of equal brutality at this very ground in the 50-over World Cup so whether James Franklin is the man to open is one minor query from a very good start by New Zealand."

Six other men have scored International Twenty20 hundreds - Richard Levi (117no), Chris Gayle (117), Tillakaratne Dilshan (104no), Suresh Raina (101), Richie Berrington (100) and Mahela Jayawardene (100) - but McCullum is only the man to score achieve the feat twice.

Sky Sports expert Rob Key said McCullum's incredibly fast hand speed combined with his power made him a difficult batsman to bowl at.

"He comes really hard at you and also, what he did, was he went really hard at Shakib Al Hasan," said Key.

"McCullum was quiet for a little bit but as soon as Shakib came on, almost out of the powerplay, that was when he really took off."

He added: "I played against him at Tunbridge Wells and I was fielding at extra cover; he came haring down the pitch in the first over and he swung himself off his feet. The wind from the bat speed almost knocked me back!"

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