Pallekele: Dashing New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum showed pleasure over his record-breaking knock against Bangladesh, saying contributions to team wins are significant. The 30-year-old right-hander hit 123 off just 58 balls - the highest individual score in all Twenty20 internationals - to guide New Zealand to 191 for 3 before restricting Bangladesh to 132 for 8 in 20 overs at Pallekele on Friday.
"Obviously I am very pleased to be able to make that contribution," said McCullum, declared Man of the Match after New Zealand's 59-run win in the opening group D match. Pakistan are the third team in the group, from which the top two will qualify for the Super Eights stage. "There have been a couple of innings which I remember for various reasons," said McCullum, whose other Twenty20 century came against Australia at Christchurch in 2010. "This one is really up there among my best."
Tim Southee (3 for 16) and Kyle Mills (3 for 33) then ended Bangladesh's chances with some accurate seam bowling. McCullum stressed a successful start was much needed. "You need to turn up and play incredibly well in your first game to give yourself the best opportunity of qualifying. Also the fact that left-arm spinners have posed us some problems in the past it was nice to put them out to pasture for a while," said McCullum.
Bangladesh included three left-arm spinners but all were put to sword by McCullum who hit seven sixes and eleven boundaries, pacing his innings well. "I was just trying to maximize the last couple of overs for the team. We had discussed the need to put on partnership early on so I wanted to make sure that we try to maximize ourselves but certainly not the records," said McCullum.
South African Richard Levi's 117, which ironically came against New Zealand at Hamilton earlier his year, was the previous best score in Twenty20 internationals. "I think I am pretty lucky there's only a short shelf life so far in this format. It's a game which does suits me and my style of play and temperament as well. I always want to try and be aggressive when I am out there," said McCullum.
New Zealand next match in the tournament is Pakistan here on Sunday.