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IND vs SA: Who has the better opening combination? | Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan vs Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla

Karthik Raj
ANALYST
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2.13K   //    Timeless

It's 2019 World Cup time and Team India will finally end their long wait to play the first match against South Africa. The wait has seemed like forever and the fans would be relieved to watch India in action yet again. India will face South Africa at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on 5th June 2019.

The batting units of both teams need to step up in order to give their respective teams a great chance to win the match. This is where the top-order in a batting unit assumes so much importance. Given that openers have the highest probability to face a maximum number of overs in a match, the batsmen occupying such positions are expected to achieve big scores and bat through the innings. This is also both India and South Africa's strong points.

India, in fact, have one of the best opening combinations in the world. Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are regularly at the top half whenever a discussion about the best opening pairs take place.

The advantage of being an opener can be best understood by looking at Rohit Sharma's career graph. Rohit, w,ho was struggling in the middle order was handed a career-changing opportunity by India's ex-skipper MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni gave Rohit Sharma a chance to open in the 4th ODI against England at the start of 2013. Rohit grabbed that golden opportunity by scoring 83 runs and he hasn't looked back ever since. He has scored 6032 runs at a humongous average of 58 ever since that game against England. Also, 20 out of his 22 hundreds have come in that period.

On the other hand, his partner Shikhar Dhawan has always been an opener. But unfortunately or fortunately, his breakthrough only came during the Champions Trophy in 2013. From that tournament till now, Dhawan has averaged 45.96 in this format. Shikhar Dhawan is also known as a big tournament player as he often finds his best form during ICC tournaments.

It is also an amazing stat that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan make up the fourth-best opening partnership in ODI history. The pair have notched up 4541 runs in 101 innings. This makes them an incredible opening combination.

While India have an extraordinary opening pair, South Africa's openers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock can't be discounted too. They are classy players in their own right. Hashim Amla possesses a stupendous ODI career record with 7923 runs from 175 matches at an average of 49.51. Amla holds the records for fastest player to reach 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 runs in ODI cricket history. His form in the past 18 months haven't been eye-catchy with him averaging a lowly 33.87, but he showed signs of his old touch in the warm-up games prior to the World Cup.

His partner Quinton de Kock is no slouch too. Quinton de Kock has notched up 4693 runs at an average of 45.56 in his ODI career. Together, Amla and de Kock have scored 4028 runs in 87 innings at an average of 47.95. While Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan's pairing stands at fourth in the all-time opening partnership records, Amla and de Kock feature just below them at fifth-position.

On the whole, India's opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan can be termed as a better combination when compared to South Africa's Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. This conclusion can be arrived at by comparing their form and rankings. One wonders which opening combination will shift the match in their team's favour on June 5 when India clash against South Africa.

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