Opening the batting is one of the most important traits in a cricket game, and these are the batters who lay the foundation for the batting team, be it while setting a target or chasing them. A team with a strong set of openers is paramount to their success in the ODI format, as they have enough time to make a big score and create an impact for their team.
With openers consistently scoring runs, a team need not worry about the total they register, as more often than not, the team that has prolific openers has more chances to secure a win thanks to their batting. This allows the rest of the batting line-up to consolidate the start attained and pile up a big score.
In ODIs, there is an unwritten rule that openers are the ones who lead the run charts of batting, and we will see the top 10 batters with the most runs as openers in ODIs.
Most ODI Runs as an Opener
|Sachin Tendulkar (IND)||340||15310||200*||48.29|
|Sanath Jayasuriya (SL)||383||12740||189||34.61|
|Chris Gayle (WI)||274||10179||215||39.45|
|Adam Gilchrist (AUS)||259||9200||172||36.50|
|Sourav Ganguly (IND)||236||9146||183||41.57|
|Desmond Haynes (WI)||237||8648||152*||41.37|
|Rohit Sharma (IND)||173||8679||264||55.63|
|Tamim Iqbal (BAN)||240||8357||158||36.65|
|Saeed Anwar (PAK)||220||8156||194||39.98|
|Hashim Amla (SA)||175||8083||159||49.89|
Key insights from the above stats
3: The number of Indian opening batters who find themselves in the top 10 when it comes to most ODI runs at the opening position. The only other country to have more than 1 player on this incredible list is the West Indies.
383: Number of innings played by Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya as an opener, and this is the most times batted by any cricketer at any given position. Sanath Jayasuriya had one of the longest careers in ODI cricket and spent the majority of it as the opener for Sri Lanka. Playing a whopping 383 innings at the top of the order, Jayasuriya amassed 28 centuries and registered his highest individual score of 189 for Sri Lanka in that position.
15310: Sachin Tendulkar is called the God of Cricket, and one of the reasons why he is hailed in such a way is due to the slew of records that are in his name. The master blaster unsurprisingly holds the record for scoring the most career runs as an opener in ODIs, with over 15000 to his kitty.
10000: Apart from Jayasuriya and Tendulkar, Chris Gayle, the West Indies legend, is just the third opening batsman to cross the 10000 run mark batting in that position. He is among the few to have scored an ODI double-century and has made a whopping 25 tons in his 274 outings as an opener for the West Indies. His average is just a shade under 40 but he is still an ODI legend.
45: Starting off as a middle-order batter, Tendulkar transitioned himself to become the best-ever ODI opener by smashing 45 tons in 340 innings, the most centuries by an opener, with a highest score of 200* against South Africa.
9200 – Adam Gilchrist has the most runs by an opener in ODI cricket for a wicket-keeper batsman and he is one of the keepers who revolutionized batting as a gloveman. The left-hander played an impactful role for his team, Australia in many of the games, averaging over 36 in 259 innings with 16 centuries to his name. He may have missed the 10k ODI run mark but inspired a whole lot of new-generation keepers to follow. (Check out the wicketkeeper-batters who have scored the most runs across formats here.)