One of the most important parts of any ODI batting order is the opening pair. They set the stage for the rest of the innings, and the bigger the opening stand, the more likely it is that the team batting will make a big score.
Most of the best opening pairs in ODI cricket are from the 1990s and later. This is because teams spent the first 15 or so overs of this type of cricket trying to figure it out. Even until the middle of the first decade of this century, they had to play a power play till the first 15 overs.
In the history of ODIs, four opening pairs have put up more than 5,000 runs. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have had the most success in this format than any other pair.
Keeping with this theme, let’s look at the top three opening pairs in ODI cricket based on how many century partnerships they have had.
3. Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist (2000-2008) – 16
Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist were one of the scariest opening pairs of all time. They were a big part of Australia’s success in the 2000s.
Hayden and Gilchrist are two of the game’s all-time greats. While batting at the top of the order for an unbeatable Australian team, the pair won the Champions Trophy in 2006, the World Cup twice, and a lot of series.
When they batted together, they had 16 hundred stands, which was more than any other Australian opening pair. Together, the two left-handers scored 5,409 runs in 117 innings, which is an average of 47.4.
#2. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (2013 – still ongoing ) – 18
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, the only opening pair that is still playing, have been the best opening pair in ODI cricket in the last decade. Since the 2013 Champions Trophy, when they first batted together, the two have gotten better and better and have been very consistent.
Rohit and Dhawan, who maintain a left-right combination, have scored 5,108 runs in 112 innings. They have had 18-century stands, with their best being 210 runs.
In the first ODI between India and England, which just ended, the two set a record for the 18th-century stand. This helped the Men in Blue win by 10 wickets at the Kennington Oval.
#1. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly (1996-2007) – 21
Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, two of India’s best batters in the past, batted well together at the top of the order and scored a lot of runs.
From the late 1990s to the late 2000s, Tendulkar and Ganguly were the most important batsmen for India. They scored runs both at home and away. With 6,609 runs in 136 innings, Tendulkar and Ganguly are the most successful opening pair in ODIs (the most by any opening duo).
They were part of as many as 21 hundred-run partnerships, including one against Kenya at Boland Park in 2001 that lasted 258 runs. The most successful opening pair in the history of 50-over cricket played their last game together against Pakistan in Gwalior in 2007. India won the game by six wickets.