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Team India... and the 'McCullum factor'

March 15, 2016 09:57 IST

India has never beaten New Zealand in cricket's shortest format.
Bikash Mohapatra/ on how one man, who won't play the opening game of the ICC WorldT20, was responsible for those defeats.

Brendon McCullum of New Zealand prepares to bat during a nets session

IMAGE: Brendon McCullum wielded his bat like a bludgeon. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


Team India's opening game at the World T20 is a difficult assignment made somewhat easy.


It is quite simple, actually.

The hosts begin their bid for a second World title against New Zealand. The Black Caps are the only team India has never beaten yet in T20s -- having lost all four games.

What is reassuring is that the player who played a vital role in all four New Zealand victories won't take the field in Nagpur this evening.

Brendon McCullum amassed 1,224 runs in 10 Tests (@68.00) against India, including that mammoth 302 in Wellington -- the only triple hundred by a New Zealand batsman in the five-day format.

The 34 year old, who retired from international cricket last month, made an even bigger impact in the game's shortest format.

In the four matches against the Men in Blue, McCullum hit 261 runs, at an astounding 130.50.

He was named Man of the Match in three of those four encounters.

September 16, 2007, Wanderers, Johannesburg

Brendon Mcullum of New Zealand attacks the Indian bowling at The Wanderers Cricket Ground during the ICC World Twenty20 Championships in 2007

IMAGE: McCullum attacks the Indian bowling at the Wanderers cricket ground during the first ICC World Twenty20 Championships in 2007. Photograph: Julian Herbert/Getty Images


The opening Super 8s game of the inaugural tournament.

Having been put in to bat, the Black Caps lost Lou Vincent (3) early.

McCullum then combined with Peter Fulton (21) to add 58 for the second wicket.

He top scored with 45 (off 31 balls) as New Zealand scored a formidable 190.

Thereafter, Captain Daniel Vettori (4/20) created havoc and India fell 10 runs short.

It was the only game India lost en route to the title.

February 25, 2009, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Brendon McCullum and Jacob Oram of New Zealand celebrate victory

IMAGE: McCullum and Jacob Oram celebrate after the first T20I in Christchurch. Photograph: Martin Hunter/Getty Images


Batting first, India piled up 162/8, riding on Suresh Raina's unbeaten 61.

An unbeaten 56 from McCullum helped New Zealand win by seven wickets, with seven balls to spare.

By McCullum's standards it was a subdued innings -- he faced as many as 49 balls. But it was precisely what his team needed him to do.

McCullum was involved in three vital partnerships -- 54 for the second wicket with Martin Guptill (41), 50 for the third wicket with Ross Taylor (31) and an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 60 with Jacob Oram (29 not out).

February 27, 2009, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Brendon McCullum of New Zealand celebrates winning the second Twenty20 International against India at Westpac Stadium in Wellington

IMAGE: McCullum exults after the second T20I. Photograph: Marty Melville/Getty Images


In the second T20 of the series, India posted 149/6 after being put in to bat.

The hosts rode on McCullum's unbeaten 69 to win off the last ball.

He added 53 for the first wicket with Jesse Ryder (26), and another 56 for the third wicket with Ross Taylor (27).

For his 55 ball knock, that included eight boundaries and a six, McCullum was named Man of the Match for the second time in the series.

September 11, 2012, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum hits a shot during their second Twenty20 match against India in Chennai

IMAGE: McCullum savages the Indian attack in Chennai. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

After being put in, a blitzkrieg 91 by McCullum helped New Zealand score a formidable 167/5.

His 55 ball innings was inclusive of 11 hits to the fence, and three over it.

During the course of his innings McCullum added 90 runs for the third wicket with Kane Williamson (28), then a rookie, now his successor as captain.

Despite's Virat Kohli's equally majestic 70, the hosts fell just short.

This was the last T20 encounter between the two sides.

With McCullum calling it a day ahead of the World T20, can New Zealand maintain their unbeaten record against India at Nagpur?

Bikash Mohapatra /