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McCullum's blitz brings orange prize

Brendon McCullum's world-record 158 not out for Kolkata in the Indian Premier League has come at a cost he will have to wear a bright orange helmet for the next 10 days.

In an attempt to create a tradition like cycling's yellow jersey, the orange helmet is awarded to the batsman with the highest score at the IPL and McCullum's 158 is unlikely to beaten at the Twenty20 tournament or possibly ever.

In hitting from another planet for Kolkata against Bangalore, McCullum's 73-ball assault included 13 sixes and 10 fours, one of which was a potentially fatal shovel shot over the wicketkeeper's head

Astonishingly, McCullum failed to score off his first six balls and said after the IPL opener that he was riddled with nerves because of his US$700,000 price tag.

"I couldn't feel my legs for the first few balls," he said.

"It was partly because of the hype around the game and some of the big names in the side with huge records. I guess you want to prove yourself and that adds to the nerves."

McCullum's side bolted to a 140-run victory.

Also starting on a wining note were fellow New Zealanders Daniel Vettori (Delhi), who took 1-35, Jacob Oram and Stephen Fleming (both Chennai), though only Oram was in the starting XI, scoring 13 and taking 0-37 from four overs. Scott Styris, Ross Taylor and Kyle Mills carried the drinks for their sides.

There are no photographs available of McCullum's innings, or for that matter any other opening-round action, because international news agencies have boycotted the event because of restrictions imposed by organisers.

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