It was December 2018. Shikhar Dhawan had just been traded to Delhi Capitals and there were two big questions in the minds of everyone - will David Warner have a good return to IPL and who will open with him? In the auctions, SRH bought Jonny Bairstow and Martin Guptill. However, no one had expected any of these two to fire.
Amidst all these thoughts, CSK bundled out RCB for a mere 70 runs. The pitch faced a lot of criticism. Thus the expectations increased from the second match, which was to be played by SRH and KKR at Eden Gardens. On the one hand, people were eager to see the performance of SRH openers, particularly David Warner. On the other, fans also wanted the pitch to provide a lot more assistance to batsmen.
In the second match, KKR won the toss and elected to field. However, who knew that a nightmare was awaiting them. Warner, opening with Bairstow smashed the bowlers. While He scored 85 runs from just 53 balls while Bairstow scored a 35 ball 39. This partnership eventually guided the team to a mammoth 181. Unfortunately, a Russell-mania took the match away from them.
Next opponent waiting for them was Rajasthan Royals. The match was to be played at the den of Sunrisers. A ton by Sanju Samson had put RR in command and helped them to reach 198 before another Warner-Bairstow show (69 off 37 and 45 off 28 respectively) "destroyed his day."
The third match was to be played against RCB. This was the day when these two literally ruined the hapless bowling of the visitors. Batting first, SRH scored a 232, thanks to centuries from both Warner and Bairstow. SRH notched up another victory after bundling out the Virat Kohli-led team for the score of 113.
During these three matches, the openers put various to their name. Let us take a look at some of them.
#1 First opening pair in IPL history to put 3 consecutive century partnerships
Australia and England are considered to be the biggest rivals in cricket. But this Australian-English duo became the first in the history of IPL to put on 3 consecutive centuries in IPL. They had partnerships of 118, 110, and 185 in those 3 matches respectively.
Warner played a major role in the first 2 matches, scoring 85 and 67 runs respectively. Bairstow was the protagonist of their third encounter, and he scored 114 runs in that partnership.
The significance of this increases as Warner was returning after one year and was in pressure to perform, whereas Bairstow was playing his debut season, and had a load of a price tag of ₹2.20 crore. He had additionally been burdened by the expectation to carry forward the legacy of Shikhar and Warner, who had been a loyal run-getter for the team.
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#2 Highest opening partnership in the history of IPL
On 7th April 2017, Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn scored an unbeaten partnership of 184 in a chase against Gujarat Lions.
Almost two years later, on 31st March 2019, David Warner and Jonny Bairstow put on a partnership of 185. This was the highest opening partnership in the history of IPL, and the 6th highest overall. This was the highest partnership for SRH as well, surpassing the previous best 138 between Shikhar and Warner.
On a batting-friendly pitch, the duo took every bowler on demand. They were fantastic at running between the wickets. They hit boundaries effortlessly as well. The highest partnership ever for any wicket remains at 229 between AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli against GL. In that match, they had scored 129 and 109 runs respectively.
Yuzvendra Chahal finally removed Bairstow with a traditional leg spin delivery, which he top-edged to Umesh Yadav, breaking the 185 run-stand.
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#3 First time in the history of IPL when both openers scored a century in the same match
Only two times in the history of IPL have two players scored a century in the same innings, with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers being the first duo to do so. Warner and Bairstow became the first opening pair and second overall to score a century each in the IPL.
Jonny Bairstow played the leading role, scoring a 56-ball-114. When he departed, Warner, who was batting on 70(42) then took the charge and scored his next 30 runs in just 13 balls to bring up his ton. They together smashed 17 fours and 12 sixes.
Meanwhile, Bairstow established another feat. He became the joint second fastest (along with Andrew Symonds) to bring up his maiden IPL innings. He took just 3 innings to do so. The first 2 were Brendon McCullum and Micheal Hussey, who did it in their 1st innings
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