The IPL was created to offer a platform to young Indian cricketers to showcase their talent as well as capture the imagination of the cricket-mad Indian fans. The Indian Premier League hasn’t disappointed one bit in that aspect and hasn’t seen a dip in intensity over the last nine years.
Cricket in India is equivalent to a religion and any major tournament generates a lot buzz. A brilliant opening game acts as the icing on the cake to the much-awaited event.
We take a look at a few gripping moments from the IPL tournament openers of yesteryear before the start of IPL 2017.
#5 Brendon McCullum extravaganza - 2008
Even after nine years of the prestigious event, the first ever ton by the swashbuckling Kiwi, Brendon McCullum is etched in the memories of cricket fans. The opening game of IPL 2008 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore might have been a one-sided affair, but it was the perfect start to the IPL.
IPL needed a memorable start and McCullum injected exactly the same into the tournament by notching up the highest ever score in any T20s, overhauling Cameron White’s 141 runs. With 10 fours and 13 colossal sixes, McCullum ensured that RCB weren’t even left with a glimmer of a hope to stage a comeback.
There wasn’t a dull moment when the former New Zealand captain was going hammer and tongs to pulverise the Bangalore bowlers into submission. Even Shahrukh Khan was seen bowing down from the stands to the stupendous knock by the wicket-keeper batsman from Christchurch.
#4 Chennai Super Kings edge past Kolkata Knight Riders in a humdinger - 2011
After its second edition in South Africa, the Indian Premier League was back to where it all began. The return was garnished by a cliffhanger between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
The Super Kings racked up a respectable total of 153 courtesy a gritty knock of 64 runs by Srikanth Anirudha - son of former Indian cricketer, Krishnamachari Srikanth.
The Knight Riders, with Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary at the crease, ambled along at a rate of seven runs per over, with nine wickets in hand. However, a flurry of wickets pushed KKR back and they eventually fell short by just two runs.
#3 Brett Lee cleaning up Unmukt Chand to kick-start IPL 2013
As a batsman, the sound of timber cartwheeling all over the place is worse than the cracking of bones; but for bowlers, it’s a music to their ears. Eden Gardens in Kolkata was all set to stage the inaugural game of IPL 2013 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils.
A packed house at the iconic stadium in Kolkata was waiting in anticipation of something enthralling from their home team. Brett Lee, with the white ball in hand, was raring to have a crack at the Delhi batsmen and he got his team off to the best possible start.
The first delivery by Lee was an absolute peach as it took Unmukt Chand by surprise, who pushed forward to a back of a length delivery, more in hope than in conviction. The ball pitched on middle and off, moved a shade away and uprooted the off-stump.
#2 Narine bamboozles Mumbai to gift KKR their first victory - 2014
After India and South Africa, it was the United Arab Emirates’ turn to host the Indian cricketing opera. Kolkata Knight Riders humbled the Mumbai Indians pretty comprehensibly by 41 runs in the opener, but there wasn’t any dearth of quality in the match.
After Gautam Gambhir perished to Lasith Malinga, failing to open his account in eight deliveries, Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey held fort to propel the Knights to a competitive total of 163 runs. Malinga was Mumbai’s wrecker-in-chief, finishing with four vital wickets.
Mumbai Indians were in contention for victory with 62 runs required in 29 balls, and most importantly, had eight wickets in hand. The 15th, 17th and 19th over were bowled by Sunil Narine and those three overs dismantled the Mumbai Indians to a score of 122 runs.
The Mumbai Indians batsmen hardly had any answer to Narine’s guile and trajectory as they kept capitulating one after the other.
#1 Rohit Sharma lights up the stage at the Wankhede - 2015
The Wankhede Stadium is Mumbai Indians’ fortress and they hardly let their oppositions dominate against them on a batting paradise. Nonetheless, in the opening game of IPL 2015 against Kolkata Knight Riders, they found themselves in a spot of bother after losing three wickets inside the power-play.
Skipper Rohit Sharma went on a rampage to plunder 98 runs in 65 balls that were crafted with 12 boundaries and four monstrous sixes. Along with Corey Anderson, Rohit stitched together a stand of 131 from 88 balls.
The Knights were jolted early with the loss of Robin Uthappa, but a couple of healthy partnerships ensured that KKR chased down 170 runs and romp home by seven wickets to open their account in the win column.