5 Best Opening Pairs Of All Time In ODI Cricket
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Batting opening pairs in ODIs often define the fortunes of a team. When the openers give the team a good start and stability at the top, the team invariably does well. Well begun is half done and nothing proves that better than a sound opening partnership.Whether it is weathering a new ball on a spicy pitch against an intimidating bowler or setting the tempo on a flat batting track, openers, especially in ODIs have to be adept both at attack and defence. Openers are also tested a lot technically, considering almost every team opens its bowling with one of its best bowlers.Moreover, the best openers generally also build innings, sometimes carrying on right through to help putting up a big score. In other words, the best opening pairs generally have excellent century makers - people capable of both attacking and defensive cricket.In modern day cricket, this is even more important considering how scoring at a fast pace is as much an essentiality as it is to be technically sound. It is not easy to judge opening pairs in ODIs based on sheer volume of runs. That is because, some opening pairs have done well away from home, some have done well at home, some have piled on runs with greater consistency while some did it with greater gusto and fire.Here are the best opening pairs in ODIs based on all those factors put together. Pairs like Sanath Jayasuriya-Romesh Kaluwitharana and Aamer Sohail-Saeed Anwar, who took the 1996 World Cup by storm don’t make it to the top 5 largely on the basis of total runs compiled. The former had a lower average than most world-class opening pairs, considering their brand of cricekt was generally playing with fire more than with caution.
#5 Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar
The pair that terrorised bowlers in the 2011 World Cup - smashing even the best bowling line-ups from South Africa, Pakistan and England - Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were an amazing pair.
Almost lookalikes at one time, the two batsmen though had different approaches to the game. Sehwag kept it really simple – see it and smash it was his mantra. Tendulkar, on the other hand, went about his business building the innings. Between 2002-2007, Tendulkar had partnered both Ganguly and Sehwag based on different strategies.
In 93 innings, the pair compiled 3919 runs at an average of 42 with 12-century stands. The average is slightly lower largely because Sehwag didn’t believe in hanging on when it wasn’t really going his way. However, one could be confident that whenever this pair were at the crease, they’d score at almost a run a ball if not more.
The average is slightly lower away than at home, but that was because Sehwag, showed most of his murderous form on better batting wickets in India.
4. Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh
Between 1998-2002, a time when a lot of ODIs were played including the 1999 World Cup, the era that started the Australian invincibility – something that would go on until the end of 2007 World Cup – Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh formed a very productive opening partnership.
Left and right-hand combination apart, they were poles apart in the way they approached the game. Adam Gilchrist generally inclined towards playing blitzkrieg innings, smashing the leather of the ball in a way no wicketkeeper-batsman ever did in cricket, until MS Dhoni came into his own.
On the other hand, Mark Waugh was elegance personified, a touch player who managed to caress and coax the ball to all corners of the ground. Between them, they managed 3853 runs in 93 innings. They are 5th on the all-time list in terms of opening runs aggregate, with 8-century stands and an average of over 40. They averaged slightly higher at home, around 44, while away from home, their average dipped a hint below 40.