While the Indian T20 League has nurtured numerous unknown talents into international stars, the tournament has also seen some finished products that didn’t take more than a match to prove their mettle.
Here we look at three such Indian T20 League players whose debut performances will be remembered for the ages.
Starting in 2008, the tournament organizers had numerous doubts about the potential of the T20 tournament with the format relatively new back then, and ‘T20 specialists’ weren’t a thing as well. However, all their qualms vanished in just the second over of the opening match of the tournament between Kolkata and Bangalore. Facing Zaheer Khan, Kolkata's Brendon McCullum hit 18 runs with three boundaries and six to set the groove. The former New Zealand international had ended up blasting 10 boundaries and 13 sixes in his very first Indian T20 League match, scoring an unbeaten 158 runs in 73 balls.
Though Brendon McCullum could never repeat that feat, whether for Kolkata, New Zealand or any of the other Indian T20 League franchises that he played in over the years, the tournament remains indebted to the hard-hitting even today, for setting the ball rolling in the most impeccable way.
While McCullum was hardly under any performance pressure when he opened the batting for Kolkata alongside Sourav Ganguly for the very first Indian T20 League match, the same cannot be said about West Indies' Alizarri Joseph. The Indian T20 League had already become a cash-rich and enormously talked-about T20 tournament in the world and a 22-year-old Joseph was tasked with defending Mumbai's low total of 136 against Hyderabad. It was an easy match to win for Hyderabad, who were playing in their own backyards, but they didn't plan for Alizarri Joseph. The towering pace bowler went on to dismiss David Warner, Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddharth Kaul, returning with figures of 6/12. By the end of the carnage, Joseph still had two balls remaining as Team Hyderabad was all wrapped up for 96 runs.
The name of Australian pacer Andrew Tye was already doing the rounds when he debuted for Team Gujarat in the Indian T20 League in 2017. Tye had already made his international debut with the Kangaroos in 2016 with the Indian T20 League franchises excited to see his variety of deliveries on Indian soil. And Tye wasted no time in giving his suitors what they were waiting for. Playing against Pune, Tye ended with figures of 5/17 against a strong line-up that consisted of Steve Smith, MS Dhoni, Ben Stokes, Ajinkya Rahane and more. However, more than his five-wicket haul it was Tye's debut match hattrick that caught all eyeballs. Tye had dismissed Ankit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Shardul Thakur on three consecutive balls to limit the opposition to 171 with his team winning chasing the target comfortably. His mind-blowing feat saw Team Punjab shelling out Rs. 7.2 crores for him in the 2018 auction.
Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Alexander Joe