7 highest opening partnerships in ODIs

Ganguly, Sachin
Ganguly and Tendulkar are the only
to have two 250+ opening partnerships in ODIs

Good opening partnerships are hard to find. Especially in limited-overs cricket. While there are plenty of great opening batsmen like David Warner, Rohit Sharma, Martin Guptill and Quinton de Kock playing around the world right now, there aren't as many opening pairs.

One look at the highest opening partnerships in the history of ODIs and you thrown back to the halcyon days when opening batsmen hunted in pairs and were feared not individually but for the destruction that they cause together.

So who holds the record for the highest opening partnership in the history of ODIs and do Sachin-Ganguly, who hold the record for most century partnerships by an opening pair make it into the top five. Here are the five highest opening partnerships in ODIs:

#7 Sourav Ganguly-Sachin Tendulkar

The opening pair with the most century partnerships in ODI and the only pair with two 250+ partnerships and undeniably one of the format's greatest opening pairs of all-time, it isn't surprising that Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar make it into this list.

In the ninth match of the tri-series between India, Kenya and South Africa, India took on Kenya. After winning the toss, Ganguly elected to bat first and then along with Sachin wreaked havoc and put on what was then a world record partnership for the opening wicket.

The pair added 258 in 41.4 overs before the Indian captain was dismissed for 111. Before that was pure carnage as two of India's finest openers put on a batting master class at Paarl. Centuries from both openers helped India post a mammoth 351/3 and eventually win the game by 186 runs.

#6 Brendon McCullum and James Marshall


One of the reasons why Brendon McCullum was universally loved was not just his fearless brand of cricket but his ability to take the attack to the bowlers and as Scotland found out in 2008, when he gets going there is little you can do to stop him. Even if, at the time he and his opening partner had no ODI centuries to their names.

When Brendon McCullum and James Marshall walked out to bat against Scotland in the first match of the Associate Tri-Series at Aberdeen on July 1, 2008, few could have foreseen what was going to come next. Although the pair just fell short of the opening wicket partnership record, they still managed to add 274 runs in 42.2 overs, which gives them fourth place on this list.

McCullum scored a 135-ball 166 and despite getting out in the 43rd still outscored his opening partner by five runs and the pair together added 327 runs, which is a record for the most runs scored by an opening pair that stands to this day. On the back of that mammoth opening stand, the Kiwis scored 402/2 and went onto win the game by 290 runs.

#5 Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan

Tharanga Dilshan

One look at Upul Tharanga's ODI numbers and there is nothing that is likely to leave you in a daze. Having played nearly 200 ODIs, he has just over 5,000 runs at an average of 33 with 13 centuries and yet he features twice in the top three of this list, with two different opening partners.

The first time he features is along with Tillakaratne Dilshan. In the 2011 World Cup in which Sri Lanka reached the final, they also had one of the most productive opening pairs of the tournament. Against Zimbabwe, in the Group encounter, Dilshan and Tharanga put on 282 for the opening wicket as both players scored centuries.

Although neither player went completely berserk, their calm and calculated approach yielded rich rewards for Sri Lanka. They put on 282 in just under 45 overs with Dilshan top-scoring with 144 off 131 balls while Tharanga got 133.

Despite their impressive efforts, Sri Lanka could manage just 327 in their 50 overs but that was still enough to give them a 139-run win. Even their massive partnership is only good enough for third spot on this list.

#4 Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock


The South African pair added unbeaten 282 runs for the first wicket, against Bangladesh in Kimberley on 15th October 2017. Batting first, Bangladesh had posted 278 runs in the first innings.

In reply, the left-handed De Kock scored 168 runs in 145 deliveries, while Amla added 110 runs in 112 deliveries.

#3 David Warner and Travis Head

Warner, Head

There is little doubt that David Warner is in the form of his life in ODIs. His ability to convert starts into centuries with alarming regularity has merely showcased the world just how destructive he can when he turns it on. And turn it on, he did in the fifth ODI against Pakistan.

Playing alongside Travis Head, who was opening for only the second time in ODIs, Warner showed the younger batsman the ropes as the pair put on a mammoth 284-run partnership for the opening wicket. While poor bowling, shoddy fielding and catching did play its part, the duo became only the second pair of openers to combine for more than 300 runs in an ODI.

Eventually, when the stand was broken on 284, Warner had already registered his career-best ODI score and they fell just agonizingly short of the world record for the highest opening partnership in ODIs. Still, that was the highest partnership against Pakistan in ODIs, highest for any wicket by an Australian pair in ODIs and the fifth-highest partnership for any wicket in the history of the format. Not bad for a pair who were playing together for only the second time.

#2 Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya

Tharanga Jayasuriya

Sometimes, players just find the right place and right time to exist. And that has certainly been the case with Upul Tharanga, who has been appointed the new Sri Lankan ODI captain following Angelo Mathews' injury during the T20I series against South Africa.

A measure of just how fortunate he is can be seen from the fact that he has been involved in double-century opening partnerships with three different players and features five times in the top 21 highest ODI partnerships. And it is no surprise to see him take top spot, this time courtesy of his exploits alongside Sanath Jayasuriya against England at Leeds in 2006.

When England made 321 after winning the toss and electing to bat, they might have been forgiven for thinking that they had one foot on victory. But what they didn't count on was a world record opening partnership of 286 runs between Jayasuriya and Tharanga that came in just 31.5 overs.

Tharanga scored 109 at better than run-a-ball but that paled in comparison to his batting partner, who smashed a 99-ball 152 that not only set up Sri Lanka's whitewash but also ensured that they chased down 322 with 8 wickets and 75 balls to spare. And 11 years since the record was set in a run chase, no one has broken. But how much longer will it last?

#1 Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul Haq

Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq

The Pakistani pair broke the world record of the highest partnership for the opening wicket against Zimbabwe in July 2018. The duo added 304 runs for the first wicket, the first-ever 300+ partnership for the opening wicket.

After winning the toss and batting first, the Pakistani openers let themselves loose and while Fakhar Zaman (210*) went on to become the first Pakistani batsman to score a double century in ODIs, Ul Haq scored 113 runs and was the only wicket to fall as the visitors slammed 399 runs in Bulawayo.

Edited by Staff Editor


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