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5 Most Successful Opening Pairs In Asia Cup History (ODI)

image-lle7m85sSanath Jayasuriya features twice in Asia Cup's top five opening pairs (Twitter)

Opening batters in ODI cricket often reign supreme as the linchpin for their entire batting lineups. Stepping onto the crease as the vanguard of their teams, the task of any two opening batsmen is to form a cornerstone and set the tone for the rest of the innings, potentially shaping the complexion of the game.

One might even consider this a thankless job, as they must contend with the pristine conditions of a cricket ball coupled with pacers' thirst for wickets upfront, all while holding a responsibility to put runs on the board in the early overs. Many opening combinations, some more than others, have consistently overcome such adversities game by game with much success in their careers.

As the Asia Cup 2023 draws near, we take a closer look at five different opening pairs who have emerged as the most successful in their roles, albeit in Asia Cup matches.

1. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (India)

image-lle7p1zkRohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan run past Mohammad Amir in 2018 Asia Cup (Twitter)

One of India’s most prolific opening pairs, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have taken charge against the new ball eight times across two Asia Cup editions (2014 and 2018). The two elegant batters shared 538 runs in eight innings together, stacking them up at an average of 67.25.

They formed numerous match-winning partnerships in 2018, with their 210-run effort against arch-rivals Pakistan standing out the tallest from that tournament. Both Dhawan and Sharma starred in India’s title win the same season, with the former of the two elegant batters even taking home the ‘Player of the Series’ award.

2. Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag (India)

image-lle7puhyVirender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir during 2008 Asia Cup (Twitter)

Before Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, the onus of providing explosive starts to the Indian team was commanded by Delhi-based run-machines Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. The two dashing batters, known for their aggressive intent, often tore bowling attacks apart with ease as they ran rampant across any opposition, regardless of their reputation.

Much like Dhawan and Sharma, the two cricketers also enjoyed title success in their second Asia Cup stint as opening partners. Both Gambhir and Sehwag belted runs at will throughout the 2010 event in Sri Lanka to drive India to their fifth Asia Cup win.

3. Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed (Pakistan)

image-lle7qothMohammad Hafeez & Nasir Jamshed during their 224-run stand vs IND in 2012 Asia Cup (Twitter)

Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed’s alliance at the top, while short-lived, was one of the most profitable ones for Pakistan in their ODI history. They listed 846 runs together in harmony for two years, and scored 404 of those in mere four matches of the 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

Both Hafeez and Jamshed not only clicked together, but also reaped much success apart as each of the two finished among the top five run-getters of the tournament. Moreover, their consistent opening stands played an influential role in giving Pakistan their second-ever Asia Cup victory.

4.Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

image-lle7rp5gSanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara during 2008 Asia Cup (Twitter)

Two of Sri Lanka’s all-time batting greats, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara were tasked to open the batting in Pakistan at the 2008 Asia Cup. As it turned out, the two elegant left-handers reaped full benefits of the high-scoring event, minting 366 runs together in just five appearances.

They bludgeoned bowling attacks at will, sans the final against India, and took a special liking to Bangladesh in their two matches against them. Standing alone, Jayasuriya finished the event with 378 runs, Sangakkara finished with an identical 345, while both finished the tournament with an Asia Cup title to their name.

5.Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka)

image-lle7sc1pSanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu at the 1997 Asia Cup (Twitter)

2008 was not the first time Sanath Jayasuriya formed a successful alliance with someone at the top to engineer an Asia Cup win for Sri Lanka. In fact, the batting marauder also served as one-half of a destructive opening duo for his country back in 1997.

Jayasuriya, together with Sri Lankan great Marvan Atapattu, together scored 354 runs for the opening wicket at an average of over 88. Consistent throughout the league stage, they came to their own with century-plus stands in the final two matches to guide Sri Lanka to a memorable Asia Cup victory, the country’s second-ever at the time.

Opening Pairs With Most Runs in Asia Cup (ODI) Top 5 List

Opening Pair
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma India2014-2018853867.25
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag India2008-2010743962.71
Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed Pakistan20124404101.00
Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka2008536673.20
Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya Sri Lanka1997435488.50