12 year ago today, the IPL was born, and leading the way of the phenomena that would change cricket forever, was a fearless Brendon McCullum, who lit up the inaugural match of the first ever IPL by smashing a breathtaking 158 off just 73 balls. We look at the carnage that McCullum brought at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

When news of the Indian Premier League was announced, it obviously was received with mass euphoria. Barring the MCC vs Rest of the World, or Asia vs Rest of the World matches, the IPL brought together their favourite players no longer always against each other to play 20 over of entertaining cricket. With India winning the T20 World Cup in 2007, the road was paved for the razzmatazz of cricket, and in came the IPL.

If the opening ceremony was scintillating, what McCullum did that night would go on to change the way cricket was perceived. Against Royal Challenger Bangalore, McCullum smashed away to glory, hitting 10 boundaries and 13 sixes for Kolkata Knight Riders as a jubilant owner Shahrukh Khan cheered on from the stands. There were cheerleaders, laser shows, stilt walkers, signs and billboards which labelled cricketers and warriors.

Tilting towards McCullum’s knock, after being out to bat by RCB skipper Rahul Dravid, the wicketkeeper batsman did not score off the first six balls from Praveen Kumar in a quiet start. By the time the next four balls were delivered, McCullum had clubbed Zaheer Khan for 18. From there pandemonium began with RCB having no idea of what hit them. 19 over of chaos later, McCullum had blasted 158 at a strike rate of over 216 and KKR had posted 222/3. A punch-drunk RCB could never take off in their chase and were bowled out for 82.

Years later, McCullum would recall the night that changed his life forever. “I never really got too nervous throughout my cricket career, but on that occasion, I’ll admit I was very nervous. I think none of us really knew what this tournament (the IPL) was going to be like,” he told KKR’s official website

“We all loved the idea of it, we loved the fanfare, but all the eyeballs of the cricketing world got turned towards Bangalore that night. I feel so lucky and privileged to have had the opportunity (to be a part of that spectacle). You talk about sliding doors, and moments in your careers and in lives. That night, my life changed completely in the space of those three hours or actually, even an hour-hour and a half.

McCullum’s 158 remained the highest individual score in T20 cricket for the next five years before Chris Gayle overtook it by smashing Pune Warriors en route to a brutal unbeaten 175 off 66 balls at the same venue. But it still remains the fifth-highest T20 score today and the second-highest in IPL. More than anything else, the knock propelled McCullum into this fearless batsman and leader, who could later go on to guide New Zealand to their maiden World Cup final.

“I feel very blessed and very humble and very lucky. What I did that night was something I didn’t think I was capable of achieving. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, that’s 100% sure. It was just a surreal moment in time where you just look back and say, ‘How lucky was I?’,” McCullum said.

“I was just a young kid back then, so I was so in awe of Shah Rukh Khan who was such a mega star. I was so out of my depth even just around the superstars in my cricket team, let alone the megastar who owned our cricket team! I don’t remember many reactions in detail.”