From the other end, it was to Ishant Sharma, India's latest fast bowling sensation. He picked up Dravid by pitching it full and the Bangalorean skipper couldn't quite keep it out and was bowled for 2. Virat Kohli, then came to bat against his Ranji team-mate, who was steaming into the crease. He managed to get a boundary, through leg-byes though. Five runs from the over, Bangalore - 9/1 after 2 overs.
For the Royal Challengers, Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid opened the batting, in chase of a massive 223 run target. Ashok Dinda bowled the first over for Kolkata, and got off to a decent start, scoring four runs off the first over.
With the help of two monster sixes in the final over of the innings, McCullum scored the first ever 150 in T20 cricket, surpassing Bangalore's Cameron White's haul of 141 runs. The innings finished with a flurry, a huge six from McCullum's bat off Praveen Kumar, taking the score to a formidable 222/3 off 20 overs. McCullum finished off with a superb, electric 158 off 73 balls, while Hafeez was unbeaten on 5.
McCullum swung one more over the boundary, when he added a six more to the McCullum corner for the night, taking his score past 120, which is the highest score in a competitive T20 game. Soon followed another, straight one off Kallis, again the same result. The fielding relented under intense strokeplay from McCullum, with Noffke letting one go past his legs. Hafeez then got into the act, paddling one past fine-leg for a boundary to put Kolkata in a commanding position. Kolkata were 200/3, before the last over of the innings.
David Hussey was the third wicket to fall for Kolkata, in the very first ball of the 18th over, when he got out trying to go for the bowling. Cameron White held a neat catch, running back to lob the skier from Hussey. He departed for 12, while McCullum carried his knock forward with a cheeky shot when he played an improvised dab over the wicketkeeper for four. At the end of 18 overs, Kolkata at 179/3.
McCullum lofted his eighth six off his knock, when he paddled one pitched on middle and leg down to fine-leg, thus bringing the third fifty-run partnership of the innings. After the 17th over, Kolkata were 172/2.
McCullum reached the first hundred of the IPL, when he played one past cover off Ashley Noffke. His astonishing knock came off just 53 balls, putting Bangalore to swords to all corners of the Chinnaswamy.
David Hussey, then scored his first boundary off his Victorian skipper's bowling, taking the score to 135/2. Then McCullum launched into his sixth six, pulling White over mid-wicket for a big six. Then, he produced another boundary off the next ball, smashing it straight past the bowler for four runs. White, furthered his misery by bowling a wide delivery after McCullum smashed him. McCullum moved from 93 to 99 in typical fashion, with a huge six over mid-wicket, making it look audaciously easy. Kolkata were 154/2 off 15 overs, on course for 200+ score.
After what looked like a dry over by McCullum's standards, he produced two runs off the last ball of Joshi's over. Earlier in the over, David Hussey and McCullum were just intent on rotating the strike and keep the scoreboard ticking.
Ponting departed for a score of 20 as he tried to launch Kallis over long on, only to hole out to Praveen Kumar at mid-on. Kolkata, 112/2. David Hussey, the Australian T20 specialist, then joined McCullum in the middle. Ponting's wicket did not have any effect on McCullum's rage, as he tucked one down the leg-side for a boundary, taking the scoreboard to 116/2. Kallis bowled a wide in the final delivery of the over and had to pay the price as McCullum walked down the pitch and dispatched the ball down to the empty fine-leg for four. Kolkata, 124/2 after 13.
There was no stopping McCullum as he came down the ground and lofted Joshi down the wicket for yet another six, his fourth in the innings. It took his score to 68 off just 41 balls and brought up a much-needed fifty run partnership between the Aussie captain and the NZ wicketkeeper. Kolkata, at the end of 12 overs, 112/2.
Kallis began the eleventh over of the innings and seemed like hitting the straps straight away. But, he could only manage to miscue one through the vacant slip region for a boundary. One of the best pullers of the game, he showed what he's capable of by pulling one for a six over fine-leg to give some momentum to his innings. A boundary ended the over from Kallis, this time byes, when Ponting came down the ground, only to miss it completely. The ball evaded the wicketkeeper Boucher and went for a four. Kolkata, registering their hundred with the boundary and ending the over at 102/1.
Spin was introduced for the first time in the game, when Dravid resorted to veteran left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi to further slide down the Kolkata run-rate. McCullum chose to go after the spinner straight away, slog-sweeping a big six over mid-wicket. Kolkata finished Joshi's first over at 87/1, with McCullum on 58.
After a display of mesmerising strokeplay from Brendon McCullum, things have started slowing down a wee-bit. The batsmen were looking watchful, tentative against the bowling changes Dravid was making. Jacques Kallis came into the attack and quietened things a wee-bit, especially McCullum, bowling a tight line, making it as difficult for them as possible to get away. McCullum reached the first fifty of the IPL, reaching the landmark off 32 deliveries.
Zaheer Khan then got into the act, bowling the eighth over of the innings and hitting a good line and length, not giving the batsmen anything to work with except for singles. This over saw Zaheer produce examples of change in pace, yorkers and after seeing McCullum go berserk, normalcy returned to the Kolkata innings. Ponting was on 6 off 9 balls, while McCullum, stealing the show was on 47 off 27 balls, on course for the first fifty of the IPL. Kolkata were 73/1 after 8 overs.
Once the fielding restrictions were relaxed after the six overs, Noffke was brought back into the attack by Dravid. McCullum and Ponting will look to consolidate on the good work done by the opening stand. The two batsmen got into the groove by rotating the strike and keeping the scoreboard moving. Ponting then picked a Noffke full toss, dispatching it through mid-wicket, but good work from the veteran Sunil Joshi kept it to just two. At the end of seven overs, Kolkata were 68/1, going at over 9 runs per over. The wicket seems to have dropped the run-rate just a wee-bit for now.
After a one-over break, Dravid brought Zaheer Khan back into the attack, replacing Ashley Noffke and produced a wicket straight-up. Ganguly, caught at slip by Jacques Kallis. Ganguly departed for a 10. Ricky Ponting joined McCullum in the middle after Ganguly's dismissal.
Ganguly joined the act with a superb pull shot over mid-wicket Praveen Kumar with the first ball of the fourth over. He then rotated the strike to the man who has been wreaking havoc with the Bangalore bowling attack, McCullum. McCullum set the Chinnaswamy for a boundary, not without some help from Balachandra Akhil, who let the ball through his legs. Sanity returned to proceedings after Kumar produced a dot ball. He then gave his skipper the strike and Kumar finished the over with relative strength, a dot ball. Kolkata, 60/0 off 5 overs at a racy run-rate of 12 rpo.
Ashley Noffke replaced Zaheer after his first over, but couldnt do much as his first ball was sent down leg-side for a wide, which left the keeper for a boundary. If that was bad enough, the worst followed as McCullum parried a ball down to fine leg for a flat six. Kolkata, in complete control of proceedings so far. Ganguly finally got off the mark, with a boundary to a ball that he didn't exactly look comfortable with. The Queensland all-rounder, Noffke finished his over in the worst possible note thanks to a superb six from McCullum over mid-off. Kolkata, 50/0 after 4.
McCullum furthered his scoring rate in Kumar's second over after he pulled him through mid-wicket for a boundary. After three overs, Kolkata were 27/0. McCullum did the bulk of the scoring, smashing 22 runs with four boundaries and the six. Ganguly looked scratchy in his five deliveries, maybe due to lack of strike. He was yet to get off the mark at the end of the over.
McCullum struck the first two boundaries of the IPL, launching Zaheer Khan over mid-wicket for two fours. That was then followed by the first six of the IPL, when McCullum miscued one that sailed over third-man for a huge six. The over just got more and more productive for the Kolkattans as McCullum scored the 18th run of the over, just as he did in the first two balls of Zaheer's over.
After the match got underway, Praveen Kumar looked a difficult customer for the Kolkata team to handle, as he was swinging the ball prodigiously in the first over of the game. Brendon McCullum looked all at sea against some of his in-dippers before
Rahul Dravid, the Bangalore skipper won the toss and opted to bowl first on the home strip which had something for everyone involved in the opener. A touch of grass to help the pacers, some cracks to bring the spinners in and being a twenty20 game, how could the curator leave the batsmen out. Seems like a perfect cricket wicket at first glance.
Earlier in the evening, the Indian Premier League got off to an electrifying start with a performance from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, fireworks and performances by the US-based cheerleaders and stick-walkers. The eight captains, representing their respective franchisees signed a Spirit of Cricket agreement.
Kolkata : Sourav Ganguly (c), Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, David Hussey, Mohammad Hafeez, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Murali Kartik, Ajit Agarkar, Ishant Sharma, Debabrata Das
Bangalore: Rahul Dravid (c), Wasim Jaffer, Virat Kohli, Jacques Kallis, Cameron White, Mark Boucher (wk), Balachandra Akhil, Ashley Noffke, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan.