T20 International (T20I) cricket, with its quick-paced 20-over format, places a significant emphasis on the performance of opening partnerships. The initial partnership between the opening batsmen plays a pivotal role in setting a formidable total on the scoreboard. It is essential for teams to maximize their run rate during the powerplay overs to provide freedom to the middle-order batsmen.
The strong start not only alleviates pressure from the middle order but also allows subsequent batsmen to express themselves without restraint. Moreover, during the powerplay, only two fielders are permitted beyond the 30-yard circle, giving opening pairs the opportunity to accumulate maximum runs.
The highest-ever 1st wicket partnership in T20I cricket was an astonishing 236 runs, achieved by Hazratullah Zazai and Usman Ghani of Afghanistan against Ireland in Dehradun on February 23, 2019. This record still stands as the highest opening partnership in T20I history. Only four times in T20I history have opening partnerships crossed the 200-run mark.
Another remarkable achievement in this category is attributed to Australia’s Aaron Finch and DJM Short, who notched up 223 runs against Zimbabwe on July 3, 2018, marking the second-highest 1st wicket partnership in T20I cricket.
For India, there have been eight instances where opening pairs have contributed 100 runs or more. The highest 1st wicket partnership for India in T20I was 165 runs, scored by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in Indore on December 22, 2017. Throughout T20I history, opening batsmen have surpassed the 100-run mark as a 1st wicket partnership on 74 occasions.
New Zealand leads the way in achieving this feat, having accomplished it ten times, followed by Australia with eight times, India with eight, West Indies with five, England with four, Pakistan with four, Sri Lanka with three, and South Africa with three occurrences.
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag secured this milestone for India, scoring 136 runs as a 1st wicket partnership against England in Durban on September 19, 2007. Nine years later, KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh repeated this feat for India, registering an unbeaten 103-run partnership against Zimbabwe in Harare on June 20, 2016.
Have a look at the Top 10 Highest T20I Opening Partnership
|Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani (Afghanistan)||Ireland||236||23 Feb 2019||Dehradun|
|Aaron Finch, DJM Short (Australia)||Zimbabwe||223||3 Jul 2018||Harare|
|Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan)||England||203*||22 Sept 2022||Karachi|
|George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (Scotland)||Netherlands||200||16 Sep 2019||Dublin|
|Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam (Pakistan)||South Africa||197||19 Apr 2021||Centurion|
|Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)||West Indies||184||29 Nov 2020||Mount Maunganui|
|Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (England)||NZ||182||8 Nov 2019||Napier|
|Quinton De Kock, David Miller (South Africa)||India||174*||2 Oct 2022||Guwahati|
|Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (New Zealand)||Pakistan||171*||17 Jan 2016||Hamilton|
|Alex Hales, Jos Buttler (England)||India||170*||10 Nov 2022||Adelaide|
Pakistan’s highest 1st wicket partnership in T20I cricket was 142 runs, achieved by Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt against Bangladesh in Gros Islet on May 1, 2010. However, this record was recently surpassed by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, who scored 197 runs for the opening wicket.
Sri Lanka’s highest 1st wicket partnership in T20I was 124 runs, scored by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya against West Indies in Nottingham on June 10, 2009.
Lastly, Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das achieved a 92-run partnership against Zimbabwe in Dhaka on March 9, 2020, as their highest 1st wicket partnership. These records highlight the importance of strong opening partnerships in T20I cricket and their impact on team performance.