Opening partnerships are always the backbone of any team’s success, especially as the format gets longer. In ODIs, it is highly important for a team to have settled openers who can give them a solid platform more often than not. The key characteristic is their ability to play along and support one another.
The Indian team has always been blessed with strong openers, generation after generation, and even a stop-gap opener has given them success in this format. We will list down the top 10 opening stands for India in ODI cricket.
Highest Opening Partnership in ODI for India
|Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly||258||Kenya||Paarl||24 Oct 2001|
|Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly||252||Sri Lanka||Colombo||7 Jul 1998|
|Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane||231||Sri Lanka||Cuttack||2 Nov 2014|
|Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul||227||West Indies||Visakhapatnam||18 Dec 2019|
|Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma||212||New Zealand||Indore||24 Jan 2023|
|Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan||210||Pakistan||Dubai||23 Sep 2018|
|Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir||201*||New Zealand||Hamilton||11 Mar 2009|
|Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly||197*||Zimbabwe||Sharjah||13 Nov 1998|
|Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag||196||West Indies||Rajkot||12 Nov 2002|
|Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly||193||South Africa||Johannesburg||5 Oct 2001|
Key insights from the above stats
4: The number of times the legendary duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly get featured in this list. They played as openers for India in 136 innings, amassing 6609 runs at an incredible average of 49.32 with 21 century partnerships overall, and it is not a surprise that 4 of them find a place here. It is also the most runs by any opening pair together in the history of ODIs.
258: India’s record ODI partnership for the opening wicket, and no prizes for guessing which two players were involved in it. Yes, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly smashed the Kenyan bowlers at Paarl on an eventful day in 2001. While the master blaster Sachin blasted 132-ball 146 in the contest, Sourav Ganguly made 111 from 124 deliveries as India piled up a massive 351/3 in their allotted overs.
This stand remained the highest ever for almost 5 years until it was broken by the Sri Lankan duo of Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya in 2006 against England. Now the records stand in the name of John Campbell and Shai Hope of the West Indies, who shared 365 runs between them in 2019.
There are 3 other stands between Tendulkar and Ganguly that came in the golden period of ODIs, which is the end to the start of the millennium.
252: These 2 players shared some memorable stands and one of them was the 252 against Sri Lanka in the final of the Nidhas Trophy at Colombo in 1998. The 2 legends of Indian cricket decided to put on a show, scoring centuries each and helping India win the game by 6 runs, thus clinching the title.
197: The duo’s unbroken partnership against Zimbabwe came in the final of the Coca-Cola Champions Trophy at Sharjah in 1998. India’s former skippers yet again stepped up on the important game by finishing the chase of 197 unscathed. Sachin scored a brilliant 124, while the left-hander was unbeaten on 63.
193: Yet another feature of this sensational Sachin-Sourav duo, but the difference is that it came in a losing cause. It was the first match of the tri-nation series held in South Africa that also featured Kenya. India faced the hosts in Johannesburg, and batting first, India managed to score only 279/5 despite both openers scoring centuries and their partnership stitching 193 runs off 211 balls. South Africa chased it down with 10 balls to spare.
196: There is one other instance where Sourav Ganguly features in this list, and it is along with yet another legendary Indian opener, Virender Sehwag. It came in India’s stiff target chase of 301 set by the West Indies at Rajkot in the 2002 series, and the duo took matters into their own hands, making 196 for the first wicket in just 160 balls. Rain halted further play soon after Ganguly got out, and India won by DLS.
201: If Sachin-Sourav were famous in the early part of the 2000s, this duo of Gambhir and Sehwag took up the mantle for India in the decade to follow. They formed a dangerous combination, and one of their famous stands came at Hamilton during India’s successful tour to New Zealand, where they won both the ODI and Test series. One of the main reasons was this partnership between the 2 of them.
3: India’s current skipper Rohit Sharma features on the list 3 times, all of which with different partners.
210: This was in a famous yet one-sided win for India over their arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai in a 2018 Asia Cup game. India chased a meagre target of 238 runs, and the duo of Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan took on the Pakistani bowlers, scoring centuries each and bringing up their only 200-run stand in ODIs to date. This resulted in a crushing win for India by 9 wickets with 12 overs to spare.
Also Read | Stats: Most 200 Partnerships in ODI
212: In a more recent game at Indore, India’s skipper Rohit Sharma combined with the sensational Shubman Gill to give India their 7th ever double-century stand for the opening wicket. The duo scored centuries at a brisk pace, and the partnership lasted for a mere 157 balls for those runs, taking India’s total to 385, resulting in an easy win.
227: The 4th highest opening partnership for India and it came between Rohit and KL Rahul. While Rohit had one of his usual big daddy knocks (159), Rahul scored a splendid century himself as India amassed a staggering 387 runs batting first.
231: Last but not least is Shikhar Dhawan’s second entry in this list, this time with former skipper Ajinkya Rahane. They together scored a massive 231 runs for the opening wicket against Sri Lanka at Cuttack back in 2014. Both scored centuries as India piled up 363 runs and won by a massive margin of 169 runs.