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On Friday, with seven of those humongous hits and non-hits, McCullum became the first cricketer to score two centuries in Twenty20 Internationals as New Zealand launched their ICC World T20 campaign with a crushing 59-run victory over Bangladesh here in Pallekele. The best ranked player in the T20 world did that in style, by scoring the highest ever T20I score — 123.
McCullum was in devastating form as he butchered the Bangladesh bowlers with 11 fours and seven sixes in his 58-ball knock, to guide New Zealand to 191 for three after being asked to bat in the opening Group D match at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Chasing a target of 192, the highest so far in this edition of the ICC World Twenty20 until that point (it was beaten subsequently by England in the second match of the day), Bangladesh could score just 132 for eight.
Kyle Mills (3/33) triggered a Bangladesh top-order collapse with pace colleague Tim Southee chipping in with three wickets for just 16 runs.
McCullum, whose blitzkrieg left the sparse crowd at the stadium spellbound, was on a record-breaking spree as his hundred was the highest score in any Twenty20 International as well as in the short history of ICC World T20.
His earlier T20 International hundred — 116 not out — came in February 2010 in Christchurch against Australia. The earlier highest score in T20I stands in the name of West Indian Chris Gayle (117 in 2007 edition of the ICC World T20 against South Africa in Johannesburg) and South African Richard Levi (117 not out against New Zealand in Hamilton in February this year).
Gayle’s 117 in the 2007 edition was the earliest highest score in ICC World T20. McCullum’s hundred today was the fourth century in the ICC World Twenty20 history.
McCullum, who has played 48 T20 Internationals and scored 1443 runs at an average of 36.07 before today’s match, shared 94 runs for second wicket with James Franklin (35) in 10.9 overs to set up the big total.
The 30-year-old wicketkeeper batsman stitched another 78 runs for the third wicket with captain Ross Taylor (14 not out) from just 35 balls. He was out in the last ball of the innings off the bowling of Abdur Razzak.
No way back
Bangladesh never recovered from their top-order collapse and only Nasir Hossain put up a fight with a 39-ball 50. Their highest partnership was the 40-run stand for the fifth wicket between Mahmudullah and Hossain.
The start to the chase was disastrous with opener Tamim Iqbal being dismissed by Mills for a duck in the first over with Martin Guptill holding an easy catch. Under pressure to maintain the steep asking rate, Shakib Al Hasan (11) and captain Mushfiqur Rahim (4) fell in quick succession — in the third and fifth overs — both falling to Mills as Bangladesh slumped to 37 for four in the seventh over.
Mohammad Ashraful fell for run-a-ball 21 in the seventh over and after that runs dried up as Kiwi captain Ross Taylor used both his spinners Nathan McCullum and Daniel Vettori in tandem.
By the halfway mark, the match was shut for Bangladesh as they could score just 54 for four with 138 runs needed from 60 balls at a stiff asking rate of 13.80.
With the match out of their grasp, Bangladesh tried to score maximum runs from the remaining overs to increase their net-run rate. Nasir Hossain hit two fours off veteran Vettori in the 16th over before being out two overs later off the bowling of Southee.
Mashrafe Mortaza (5) did not last long as he was dismissed by Jacob Oram in the penultimate over, before Elias Sunny (5) fell to Southee in the final over of the match.
Earlier, NZ made a slow start and lost Martin Guptill early in the innings. But once McCullum strode in, the Kiwis changed gear with a flurry of big hits.
Brief scores: NZ 191/3 (B McCullum 123; A Razzak 2/28) beat ban 80 all out (N Hossain 50; T Southee 3/16, K Mills 3/33) by 59 runs