Playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders, New Zealand's Brendon McCullum scored 158* off just 73 balls vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first game of the IPL. This set the tone for what would become the greatest domestic T20 tournament in world cricket.
New Zealand cricketers have been a key part of the IPL. Players like Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum and Trent Boult etc have had major roles to play in their franchise's success. Even upcoming talents like Finn Allen and Glenn Phillips have been signed by IPL franchises, which shall give them exposure alongside some of the best in the world.
Earlier this year at the IPL auction, Kyle Jamieson was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore. The fast bowling all-rounder was signed for INR 15 crore, making him the most expensive Kiwi cricketer to play in the IPL. On that note, let's look at 3 top Kiwi cricketers to play in the Indian Premier League
#3 Kane Williamson
"Kane Williamson is our banker"- David Warner
The Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper is arguably the best player from NZ in the IPL. Williamson has 1747 runs in 56 innings at an excellent average of 42 and a healthy strike-rate of 134, including 4 Man of the Match awards. He has established himself as one of the most reliable and versatile anchors in the league.
Kane's most notable achievement came in the 2018 season. He won the Orange Cap- scoring 735 runs at a strike-rate of 142. Sunrisers played their 2nd IPL final under him in the absence of their regular captain David Warner, losing to Chennai Super Kings. Williamson was also a part of SRH in their title win in IPL 2016.
Some of Williamson's best performances in the league have come when his team needed it the most. His 50*(44) vs RCB in last year's eliminator was one of his finest performances in a tricky run chase on a slow wicket. He followed it up with 67(48) vs Delhi in a 190+ chase after the fall of early wickets, albeit in a losing cause.
#2 Brendon McCullum
One of New Zealand's best T20 batsmen, McCullum is famously remembered for his century in the opening game of the IPL in 2008. Other than KKR, he has also represented Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kochi Tuskers Kerala & Gujarat Lions.
With 2880 runs at an average of 28 and a strike-rate of 132, McCullum has been a decent performer in the league. He is also the current head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders. He has won the Man of the Match award 5 times in his IPL career.
McCullum's best IPL season was in 2015. He scored 436 runs at an excellent strike-rate of 155, opening the batting for Chennai Super Kings. He scored a belligerent 100* off just 56 deliveries vs Sunrisers Hyderabad at Chepauk.
Check out the orange cap holder in IPL 2021 here.
#1 Trent Boult
Boult has picked up 71 IPL wickets in 55 games at an economy rate of 8.5 and strike-rate of 17.84. He has represented 4 IPL teams- Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals, and Mumbai Indians (present). He has been a part of two IPL winning teams- SRH 2016 & MI 2020. His credentials as a Test and ODI bowler were never in question.
However, in the last couple of seasons with MI, he has proved his worth as a T20 bowler as well. 3 of his 4 Man of the Match awards have come for Mumbai. His primary role in the team is to bowl in the Powerplay and take early wickets. He finished third in the IPL purple cap race in IPL 2020, grabbing 25 wickets at an economy rate of just under 8 runs per over.
Like his national team skipper, Boult's iconic performances have also come in crunch situations. Last season, he returned with figures of 2/9 in 2 overs vs Delhi in Qualifier 1- picking up the early wickets of Shaw and Rahane. He followed it up with another excellent performance in the final - taking 3/30 vs Delhi. He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his excellent opening spell.