Cricket, a sport where at many occasions, batsmen are credited for winning their teams, matches single-headedly, but in reality, it’s the collective effort from both the ends that helps the team get past a target or set one. There have been many instances in the 50-over format of the sport when the batsmen have hunted in pairs and have smacked the opposition bowlers to all parts of the ground.
Team India, in spite of having a strong bowling unit for quite some time now, has faced the wrath of many duos, who did not show any mercy against the bowlers and piled up mountains of runs.
Here, we will be having a look at 5 such occasions where the opposition batsmen we too good for the Indian bowlers to bowl to:
5. David Warner and Aaron Finch
(Australia, 231 runs for the 1st wicket, 28 Sep 2017, Bengaluru)
With Australia 3-0 down in a 5 match series, and the Aussies looking for a grace saving win desperately, the destructive duo of Aaron Finch and David Warner came to the rescue. Steve Smith won the toss and had chosen to bat first on the batsman-friendly wicket of Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. And, he would have rejoiced this decision for days to come.
Opening the innings, Finch and Warner started their fireworks right from the start. And what followed was an absolute destruction of the Indian bowlers. David Warner got to his century, even before the team’s score passed the 100 run mark.
The Indian bowlers were helpless. By the time the first wicket of David Warner (124 off 119 balls) fell, the damage was already done. The duo had put up 231 runs on the board, collectively hitting 7 sixes and 22 fours during their stay on the wicket. Finch, who missed out on a century was dismissed 94, in the very next over. The scoreboard at the end of the first inning read 334 runs for the loss of 5 wickets.
The Indians in the second inning, could not chase down the target. With Kedar Jadhav top-scoring with 67 runs, the Indian team fell short by 21 runs. This was the first and only victory for the Aussies in that series, but the partnership that made it all happen will stay as a fond memory in the mind of every Australian fan for many years.
4. Damien Martyn and Ricky Ponting
(Australia, 234* runs for the 3rd wicket, 23 Mar 2003, Johannesburg)
Registering the highest third-wicket partnership against India at that time, the duo of Damien Martyn and Ricky Ponting is placed on the fourth spot in the list. This partnership was responsible for getting Australia to their second consecutive win in the World Cup finals.
The Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly won the toss and put in Australia to bat first and rest as they say is history. Capitalising on a strong foundation laid down by the openers, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, Martyn and Ponting went on an absolute mayhem. With Ponting leading the attack and scoring 140 off 121 balls not out, hitting 4 fours and 8 sixes, and Martyn coming in with his contribution of 88 runs off 84 deliveries, true wrath of the Aussies was unleashed on the Indian bowlers. The Aussies set the Indians a target of 359 runs.
This total was too tough for the Indian batsmen to scale as they were bundled for 234 runs. This led to Australia’s second World Cup win. Ponting, for his knock, was awarded the Man of the Match and the Indian wait to win a World Cup continued for the next 8 years.
3. Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten
(South Africa, 235 runs for the 1st wicket, 09 Mar 2000, Kochi)
The only non-Australian duo to feature in this, list Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten on the 9th of March 2004 broke the previous record of the highest opening partnership against India, getting their names featured on the third spot in this list. This partnership, though coming in losing cause, brought along a lot of entertainment for the fans.
Both, Gary and Gibbs were on fire right from the start. The duo attacked the Indian bowlers mercilessly and hit the ball all over the park. Gibbs got to a score of 111 off 127 balls before being dismissed in the 40th over. Gary followed suit and scored 115 runs off 123 deliveries and was dismissed in the 43rd over.
But, this score wasn’t going to be enough to stop the Indians from chasing it. A 92 run knock from Ajay Jadeja, along with contributions from batsmen all through the inning, the team got past the target set by the Proteas with 2 balls to spare and 3 wickets in hand.
2. George Bailey and Steve Smith
(Australia, 242 runs for the 3rd wicket, 12 Jan 2016, Perth)
Registering the Australian presence for the third time on the list, George Bailey and Steve Smith come into the list as the runners up. Their partnership of 242 runs, broke the previous record of 234* set by Damien Martyn and Ricky Ponting who are on the 4th spot in this list. This came in during the second innings of the match when the Aussies were tasked with chasing 309 runs.
After a shaky start, with both the openers, Aaron Finch and David Warner being dismissed cheaply, it was all down to Smith and Bailey to get Australia past the finish line. And, get Australia to a victory they did. With Smith almost missing out on 150, scoring 149 runs off 135 deliveries and Bailey also registering a hundred, 112 off 120 balls, they made sure that the Aussies had the victory in close vicinity before they left.
Bailey was dismissed in the 42nd over. But, Steve Smith stayed on till the end and was dismissed in the last over, with just 2 runs required to win. The Australians, who looked out of the competition at the start, sailed to victory in the end. The series also ended with a 4-1 Australian victory.
1. Aaron Finch and David Warner
(Australia, 258* runs for the 1st wicket, 14 Jan 2020, Mumbai)
Getting their team off to a flying start in their first away tour of 2020, David Warner and Aaron Finch, holding the pole position on the lost and getting their names on the list for the second time, broke the record of the highest opening stand as well as for any wicket against India in One Day International cricket.
After the bowlers of the Australian team doing a brilliant job of dismissing the Indian team before 50 overs for a score of 255 runs, Warner and Finch bettered their previous record and got their team to a perfect 10 wicket win. Warner got the higher score among the two, with 128 runs off 112 deliveries and Finch, the captain of the side, also registered a century, scoring 110 runs in 114 deliveries.
A total of 30 fours and 5 sixes were hit by the two and the Aussies comfortably chased the total of 256 runs. The carnage lasted for 37.4 overs and no wicket fell during the entire inning. David Warner was deservedly declared the Man of the Match.
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