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Brendon McCullum: World Cricket's Batsman of the Month, February 2014

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Brendon McCullum of New Zealand celebrates after reaching 300 runs for New Zealand's first ever triple century and the highest ever score by a New Zealand cricketer during day five of the 2nd Test match between New Zealand and India on February 18, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Chris TealeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2014

Brendon McCullum may have played just two international matches in the month of February, but an incredible tally of 555 runs at an average of 138.75 means he is our world batsman of the month.

New Zealand faced India in a two-Test series at home and were indebted to McCullum’s incredible run of form as they won 1-0 over the current No. 2 Test side.

The Black Caps captain twice passed 200 in an innings, first doing so in Auckland as he helped lead his side to 503 all out in their first knock.

It proved crucial, and New Zealand managed to take the win by 40 runs after being second-best for the rest of the match, with McCullum’s runs a vital contribution.

In the second game in Wellington, McCullum again led from the front, as after failing in the first innings, he put together an incredible 302 to help secure his side a draw.

New Zealand had been in enormous trouble in their second innings, but McCullum and his supporting cast made the game safe with some extraordinary batting.

 

February Performance Summary

RunsOpponentMatch TypeVenueMatch Dates
224; 1IndiaTestAucklandFeb. 6-9
8; 302IndiaTestWellingtonFeb. 14-18

 

Standout Performance

In the second Test against India in Wellington, New Zealand were in deep trouble and facing a crushing defeat.

The Black Caps were bowled out for just 192 in their first innings, and in response, the tourists hit 438 thanks to 118 from Ajinkya Rahane and 98 from Shikhar Dhawan.

Needing to score 246 to make India bat again, the hosts crumbled once again and found themselves under enormous pressure at 94-5 when BJ Watling strode out to join McCullum.

What followed was nothing short of miraculous, as McCullum led his side to safety with 302, supported by 124 from Watling and 137 not out from debutant Jimmy Neesham.

McCullum’s innings was the first triple century ever by a New Zealander in international cricket and the highest score in their history, overtaking Martin Crowe’s 299 against Sri Lanka in 1991.

Made from 559 balls in 775 minutes, McCullum’s knock lasted from the third until the fifth day, and he punished India for dropping him when he had made just nine and 36.

It meant New Zealand could declare on the final day with their score at 680-8, setting India a nominal target of 435 in just over two sessions.

It was a superb innings from New Zealand's captain and is sure to be remembered for many years to come.

 

Outlook for February 

OpponentMatch TypeVenueMatch Dates
PakistanTwenty20MirpurMarch 17
AustraliaTwenty20DhakaMarch 19
EnglandTwenty20ChittagongMarch 22
South AfricaTwenty20ChittagongMarch 24
TBC (Group B Winner)Twenty20ChittagongMarch 29
Sri LankaTwenty20ChittagongMarch 31

March sees New Zealand compete in the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, starting with two warm-up fixtures against Pakistan and Australia before they enter the Super 10 stage.

The tournament’s second stage gets underway toward the end of March, with the Black Caps taking on England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the winner of Group B, which contains Zimbabwe, Ireland, United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands.

Given McCullum’s aptitude for Twenty20 cricket and the runs he scored in February, he will be hoping for a very productive tournament.

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