Batting partnerships are really important in ODI cricket because 50 overs are split clearly into sections—P1, P2, P3—and a single partnership can smoothly take a team from one phase into another, from a period of consolidation through to a period of acceleration.
Since the 2015 World Cup, the most productive partnership is unsurprising. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have formed the most consistently productive opening pair for some time now, and it shows in their returns. They have put on more runs batting together than any other pair over the last four years.(Full coverage of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019)
Their impact at the top is a significant reason for India’s success. The slightly more surprising appearance in second is Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, though the strength of that South African top order has been underestimated by many.
While Sharma and Dhawan are the most consistent, Eoin Morgan and Joe Root have made more century partnerships than any other pair. England’s ODI and Test skippers have brought up century stands 11 times since the last World Cup marshalling those middle overs sandwiched between the carnage of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow at the top, and Buttler at the death.
What’s more, those contributions have been decisive in terms of the match result. In the 11 matches where Morgan and Root have put on 100+ runs together, England have won on 10 occasions.
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In terms of most consistent outputs, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are the most ruthless. When they bat together—which, given their proximity in the order, is very frequently—they score an average of 84 runs before being dismissed. It’s figures like that which make one realise how India have such an underdeveloped middle order. When the top three are so strong, it is difficult for the middle-order batsmen to get enough time in the middle. And so chances to impress are few and far between.
The most destructive pair in ODI cricket right now is another unsurprising one. Morgan and Buttler score more quickly when they’re batting together than any other pair. A rapid-fire scoring rate of 8.5 runs per over is partly why England are so frequently crossing 350.
Most of these pairs will be making plenty of appearances at the World Cup, and should be fairly influential. Disrupting their rhythm, and ideally breaking the partnership early, is going to be the key. Kohli and his various partners are the main culprits in terms of creating that sense of complete fear in the opposition bowling attack, as does any partnership involving Buttler. Not letting these pairs establish themselves at the crease will be crucial.
May 22, 2019 09:03 IST
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