The Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) is all set to get underway with its 13th edition in UAE. Since the inception of IPL in 2008, the league has transformed the cricket landscape not just in India, but all across the globe, cementing its place as the premier T20 tournament in the world.
In the IPL, the openers play a pivotal role in deciding a team’s fortunes. We all have seen teams having a good opening pair doing well in the tournament. While most teams try to go for a left hand-right hand combination up top, same-styled pairs have received considerable success as well.
Nonetheless, the importance of having two good openers in a team can never be undermined, especially when it comes to the IPL. Keeping that in mind, here are the top 3 opening pairs in the history of the biggest T20 league in the world:
In this article, we take a look at the three such pair who keeps the ability to decimate any bowling lineup on their day and assign them rank according to their records.
Brendon McCullum-Dwayne Smith
Insidesport Rank #3
The pair of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith is one of the lethal opening combinations in IPL history. The duo have opened the innings together for two different franchises in the league.
Making their opening debut while playing for Chennai Super Kings in 2014, they did an encore for Gujarat Lions in the 2016 and 2017 editions as well.
The pair is best remembered for decimating the opposition bowlers in the powerplay overs and was at its peak during IPL 2014, stitching together some brilliant partnerships.
Smith and McCullum recorded their first 100-run partnership for CSK in 2014 against Kings XI Punjab at Abu Dhabi, adding 123 runs on the board before the latter got out. They continued that momentum to the next year, once smashing the Mumbai Indians bowling line-up out of the park en route to scoring 109 runs for the opening wicket.
Virender Sehwag-Gautam Gambhir
Insidesport Rank #2
Delhi Capitals (previously known as Delhi Daredevils) had one of the most solid batting line-ups in the league’s initial seasons. The side had the likes of AB de Villiers, Shoaib Malik, TM Dilshan, and many more experienced stars in their squad. However, their opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir was largely heralded as the team’s X-factor.
The pair troubled the opposition bowling with their dynamic game and stitched together many great partnerships. While Sehwag focused on hitting the boundaries, Gambhir played the anchor’s role with aplomb. They smashed 732 runs as a pair in the first three editions of the IPL, teaming up for four half-century stands and one century stand (122).
Once the opening pair for India across all formats, the duo managed to replicate the chemistry in the IPL as well, forming a lethal combination at the top.
Shikhar Dhawan-David Warner
Insidesport rank #1
The opening combination has always been the main strength of the Sunrisers Hyderabad side in the IPL. The side has had a rich history of openers, with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Aaron Finch, and Jonny Bairstow all having opened the innings for them. Out of all the combinations, the pair of Dhawan and Warner stayed together for the longest time and was the most successful of the lot.
Warner has been associated with the side since 2014 while Dhawan had been a part of the franchise ever since its existence (but will now be turning out for team Delhi).
The fans will always remember the pair for their mega-partnerships at the top. They once had a match-winning opening partnership of 137 runs against the Gujarat Lions in Rajkot during IPL 2016. The next year, they added 139 runs for the first wicket against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Apart from that, they have two other century stands as an opening pair in the league (130 against KKR and 116 against CSK), taking their total tally to four.