Just as in normal living, partnerships too hold paramount importance in a sport like cricket. The two cricketers not just collectively pile on runs but trust each other’s abilities and take a backseat if the other is going berserk at the other end. The mutual understanding naturally augers well for the team and assists in posting daunting totals on the board, potentially pushing the opposition out of the contest. The history of the sport has seen several such partnerships, some of them even getting etched in the minds of cricket lovers forever. We will be focusing on a few such partnerships to dominate the proceedings at the World Cup in the present article. In the below piece, we look at 6 batting pairs to stitch the most fifty-plus partnerships in World Cup matches:
1. Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden – 12
There has been no opening pair in the history of the sport as destructive and menacing as Gilchrist and Hayden. The duo loved to take the attack to the opposition and garner as many runs as they could in the powerplay overs.
While it is always suggested having a left-right combination at the crease, the pair despite being left-handed has worked wonders for the country and played a key role in them lifting the World Cup in 2003 and 2007. Together they stitched 12 fifty-plus partnerships in World Cup matches, providing the cutting edge at the top of the order.
2. Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag – 8
2 Indian batsmen, who stood in stark contrast to each other, where Tendulkar was more than happy to time the bowlers along the ground while Sehwag had a predisposition for playing the ball in the air and procuring maximum result, the duo surprisingly came up as a stellar opening pair for the Indian team at the esteemed World Cup.
While the Indian team could make it to the final in 2003, the World Cup in 2007 was the worst, to say the least. But as they say, after every winter comes the spring bringing new life and hope, likewise the Indian team too left it all aside and went onto lift the Cup in 2011, bestowing a wonderful gift to the master, Sachin Tendulkar!
3. Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh – 7
A pair of right-handers, who predominantly batted in the middle order and controlled the proceedings for Australia, Ponting and Waugh are undoubtedly the cricketing legends for the country. As batsmen, both could bat in different gears as per the match situation and were more than ready to play second fiddle to their aggressive counterpart.
Not just with the bat in hand, the duo were excellent in the field as well taking sharp catches and inflicting unbelievable run-outs. It is no exaggeration when we say that cricket Australia and the world won’t find better ambassadors for the sport than the Australian duo, Ponting and Waugh. Together they stitched 7 fifty-plus partnerships in World Cup matches.
4. Aaron Finch and David Warner – 7
The current opening pair for Australia in limited-overs cricket, Warner and Finch complement each other pretty well at the international level for the country. Just like several other opening pairs, the duo too has an inclination towards posting solid opening stands and building a platform for the middle order to launch from.
The left-right combination as usual poses some problems to the bowlers, who need to constantly adjust their lines and lengths to keep the batters on their toes. The pair assisted Australia in winning the Cup in 2015 and making it to the semi-final stage in 2019. In tally, they have stitched 7 fifty-plus partnerships in World Cup matches.
5. Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill – 7
Another attacking opening pair in international cricket, who only knew destruction and made it tough work for the opposition bowlers, McCullum and Guptill embraced risk-taking as a way to success. Though the move didn’t go well with most of the cricketing pundits, it did wonders for New Zealand, who made it to the semi-final and final of the World Cup in 2011 and 2015 respectively.
Most often it was McCullum who would initiate the onslaught and take on the pacers and spinners alike. If not for a false stroke, the opposition would never get his wicket early which in turn also assisted Guptill in building his innings and joining the kill later. The duo stitched 7 fifty-plus partnerships in World Cup matches.
6. Shakib-Al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim – 7
Already legends of Bangladesh cricket, Shakib and Rahim are the backbone of the batting line-up for the Asian nation. When all others fail to contribute, it is these 2 along with Mahmudullah, who steady the ship for the team and take them to respectable totals. We would rarely see these men giving their wickets away and adding to the slump.
Given the vast experience playing international cricket, the mentioned duo are always ready to do the hard-grind, rotating the strike initially and once set, making up for the slow start. It seems unlikely that Bangladesh might be able to produce players as great and selfless as Shakib and Rahim, who has certainly taken the nation to new heights and glory. The duo have stitched 7 fifty-plus partnerships in World Cup cricket.