Top 10 opening pairs of IPL history

Do you know out of the top 5 all-time run-getters in IPL history, four of them are openers? It indicates that if you are an opener you have the best chance to make it count in the T20 format. Let's look at the top 10 opening pairs of IPL history.

Vikas Patwal
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Top 10 opening pairs of IPL (Source: Twitter)

Top 10 opening pairs of IPL (Source: Twitter)

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IPL has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and is expected to become even bigger in the times to come. In the 15 seasons that have passed by, fans have witnessed some amazing cricket, especially on the batting front. T20 is the format that is known to be batting-friendly and has been dominated by the batters which is also the case in the IPL.

Do you know out of the top 5 all-time run-getters in IPL history, four of them are openers? It indicates that if you are an opener you have the best chance to make it count in the T20 format as you have the whole 20 overs at your disposal and you also get the best chance to make it most of the fielding restrictions in the first 6 overs.

Let’s delve into the best top 10 opening pairs that have featured in the IPL to date:

1. Chris Gayle – Virat Kohli (RCB)

 Chris Gayle – Virat Kohli

The duo of  Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle has been one of the most charismatic opening pair of IPL. The brute power of Chris Gayle and the finesse of Virat Kohli was the perfect combo that complemented each other and was a nightmare for the bowlers in the opposition. Both of them amassed 2,812 runs while opening for RCB at an average of nearly 40.  

RCB was a dangerous batting order when both of them were in their prime form with AB de Villiers to follow and they even took RCB close to winning the IPL trophy when they lost to SRH in a hard-fought contest in 2016.

2. David Warner – Shikhar Dhawan (SRH)

David Warner – Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan is the 2nd all-time highest run scorer in IPL history while David Warner is 3rd in this list. These players formed an iconic opening pair for the SRH franchise and scored 2220 runs in aggregate while opening. The Southpaws had 6 century-opening stands among them and even took SRH to their 2nd title in 2016. 

While David Warner played the role of the aggressor between both, Dhawan played the calm influence and both of them stitched many memorable partnerships for SRH which made them a force to reckon with.

Also read: Top 5 fastest fifties in IPL

3. Gautam Gambhir – Robin Uthappa (KKR)

 Gautam Gambhir – Robin Uthappa

KKR was a force to reckon with from 2012 to 2014 where they won two IPL trophies under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir. In this phase, the opening duo Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa played a vital role in the success of Robin Uthappa as both of them scored 1478 between them in 39 innings at an average of 37.89.

The consistent starts provided by both these openers on a slow Eden Gardens track used to give a major edge to KKR against other teams and was one of the key contributors to the dominance of KKR during this period.

4. Michael Hussey – Murli Vijay (CSK)

Michael Hussey – Murli Vijay

CSK always has a reputation for picking players who are known to give their best despite their limitations rather than going in for big names. Similar is the case with the opening duo of Mike Hussey and Murli Vijay who are not known for their hard-hitting but instead known to play the situations.

Despite their reputations, Hussey and Vijay came through when it mattered most. Between 2011 and 2013, they formed successful partnerships in several crucial matches for CSK, helping the team secure victories. The duo had contributed 1367 runs while opening for CSK at an impressive average of 40.

The most unforgettable example of their winning partnership is the epic 159-run stand they shared against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2011 IPL final. This innings played a major role in CSK's championship win.

5. Shikhar Dhawan – Prithvi Shaw (DC)

Shikhar Dhawan – Prithvi Shaw

The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw came together into the fore for Delhi Capitals in 2019. Delhi Capitals formerly known as Delhi Daredevils changed their name and overhauled their entire team which also changed the luck. DC who didn’t qualify for the playoffs even once during 2013 – 2018, reached into the playoffs for three years on the trot and even played their maiden final in 2020. 

The explosive duo of Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan played a significant role in DC’s success during this period. Both of them in their aggressive style aggregated 1461 in 44 matches with included 2 century stands. 

6. Brendon McCullum – Dwayne Smith (CSK & GL)

 Brendon McCullum – Dwayne Smith

The opening duo of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith is one of the most underrated opening pair in IPL history. Both of them together amassed 1257 runs in 34 innings at an average of 36.97. Both of them came together in 2104 for the first time while playing for CSK and started taking on the bowlers from the get-go. Both of them provided many explosive starts to CSK and carried on to do so for Gujarat Lions too when CSK was banned for 2 years.

7. David Warner – Jonny Bairstow (SRH)

 David Warner – Jonny Bairstow

David Warner and Jonny Bairstow are another opening pair that wreaked havoc on the bowlers for whatever time they were together in SRH. Both the batters are attacking in nature and that’s what they did. Warner and Bairstow together scored 1401 runs for SRH which includes 5 century stands.

8. KL Rahul - Mayank Aggarwal (KXIP)

KL Rahul - Mayank Aggarwal

Though KXIP now Punjab Kings have not been able to put their hands on the coveted IPL trophy even once, their opening pair of KL Rahul and Mayank Aggarwal is one that instilled fear into the bowlers of the opposition. Both the Karnataka batters stitched 1363 runs in 24 innings at an astonishing average of 56.79 which makes them one of the best IPL opening pairs in history.

9. Shane Watson – Ajinkya Rahane (RR)

 Shane Watson – Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson formed a formidable opening pair for Rajasthan Royals which was instrumental in RR’s success in 2013. Rahane and Watson formed a reliable partnership at the top of the batting order. This meant the Royals got off to strong starts consistently, setting a solid foundation for the rest of the innings.

The true measure of their success is the fact that six out of the Royals' seven league victories that season were built on partnerships between these two batsmen. In other words, Rahane and Watson were instrumental in most of the team's wins. 

10. Virat Kohli – Faf du Plessis (RCB)

Virat Kohli – Faf du Plessis

The current RCB opening pair of  Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis is amongst the most consistent opening pair of the IPL’s history and is one of the key reasons for RCB’s recent success. Both of them have aggregated 1183 runs in just 22 innings and have had 4 hundred plus stands between them till now. 

The sheer consistency of Virat Kohli and the explosiveness of Faf du Plessis complement each other very well and they could be among the top three opening pair of all-time in IPL history if they carry on their form in the upcoming season too.