Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn have smashed the record for the highest opening partnership in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The duo added 184 runs and helped the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) make a mockery of a steep target in their 2017 season opener against Gujarat Lions at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
The unbeaten opening stand helped Gambhir and Lynn sail past the previous mark of 167 runs set by Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) against the now defunct Pune Warriors franchise in the 2013 edition.
Gujarat’s bowling attack consisted of Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Manpreet Gony, Shivil Kaushik, Shadab Jakati and Dwayne Smith. While Gambhir compiled 76 from 48 deliveries, Lynn hammered a 41-ball 93 to chase down the target of 184 with 31 balls to spare. Together, they registered 18 fours and 8 sixes as fielding skipper Suresh Raina was left scratching his head in desperation.
Interestingly, the team management decided to split their seasoned opening combination of Gambhir and wicket-keeper batsman Robin Uthappa. Australia’s Lynn, who has smashed the most number of sixes in the Big Bash League (BBL), was pushed up the order to open alongside the KKR skipper.
The move yielded rich dividends as Lynn’s aggressive hitting complemented Gambhir’s experience at the top of the order. They operated at an optimum pace right from the outset and clinically completed their task without getting separated.
Even though there were a couple of dropped chances off the Australian batsman at the end of the chase, the opening stand ensured that the target was reached with minimal fuss. Gambhir and Lynn’s effort was also the highest partnership for any wicket for the Knight Riders.
In all T20 cricket, this was the largest total chased down with all ten wickets intact. Among all wickets, their’s was the sixth highest partnership across all IPL matches. For the opening wicket, their performance was comfortably the best thus far.
Here’s a table listing the ten highest opening partnerships in IPL history. The Chennai Super Kings pairing of Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay are the only combination to feature twice in the top ten list.
Gayle and Virender Sehwag also feature twice but with two different opening partners. Interestingly, Kings XI Punjab have been at the receiving end of such gargantuan first-wicket partnerships on as many as three occasions.
|Gautam Gambhir/Chris Lynn||184*||Kolkata Knight Riders||Gujarat Lions||Rajkot||2017|
|Chris Gayle/Tillakaratne Dilshan||167||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Pune Warriors||Bangalore||2013|
|Sachin Tendulkar/Dwayne Smith||163*||Mumbai Indians||Rajasthan Royals||Jaipur||2012|
|Michael Hussey/Murali Vijay||159||Chennai Super Kings||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Chennai||2011|
|Adam Gilchrist/VVS Laxman||155*||Deccan Chargers||Mumbai Indians||Mumbai||2008|
|Mahela Jayawardene/Virender Sehwag||151||Delhi Daredevils||Mumbai Indians||Delhi||2013|
|Chris Gayle/Virat Kohli||147||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Kings XI Punjab||Bangalore||2016|
|David Warner/Virender Sehwag||146||Delhi Daredevils||Kings XI Punjab||Delhi||2011|
|Ajinkya Rahane/Shane Watson||144||Rajasthan Royals||Chennai Super Kings||Ahmedabad||2015|
|Murali Vijay/Michael Hussey||139*||Chennai Super Kings||Kings XI Punjab||Mohali||2013|
(*Note: All Statistics are as of 7th April 2017 at the end of the Gujarat Lions-Kolkata Knight Riders game)