As the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 inches closer, we continue our build-up to the premier tournament in the sport. Here now, are the possible best and worst opening pairs in the tournament.
Afghanistan may feel optimistic heading into the World Cup, but their opening partnership could come under the scanner. Explosive keeper-batsman Mohammed Shahzad will be the one to depend on, but who along with him?
The Afghanis may need to look at a few options in that position to steady their ship, but Hazratullah Zazai looks the likely choice. Not a lot of quality going on there.
Similar to Afghanistan, Bangladesh face a conundrum in the opening department. Veteran batsman Tamim Iqbal is back in the squad, and will open for sure, but who next to him?
Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar are definite options but the balance of the team would need to be considered while making the call.
8. Sri Lanka
Gone are the days when the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya and even Tillakaratne Dilshan could be depended on for the perfect start to the Sri Lankan innings.
Now, The Lankan Lions would have to depend on Dimuth Karunaratne and perhaps Lahiru Thirimanne to give them a nice cushion of runs. Don’t see that happening too often.
The opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul-Haq can be lethal when at their best, but unfortunately inconsistency is a problem that plagues the very best Pakistan players.
This may be the set combination up front, but could be altered if Pakistan aren’t able to get the runs needed in the first few games.
6. West Indies
Chris Gayle is back in the Windies’ squad, and we all know how dangerous he can be. But is there anyone who can ably partner the Universe Boss?
Evin Lewis looks the most likely pick at this time, and while we can expect this duo to fire in a few games, their approach against spin and quality swing bowling will be an interesting watch.
5. New Zealand
Not completely sure what to think of the possible Colin Munro-Martin Guptill pairing up front, but New Zealand will hope that the two can be at their best when the World Cup begins.
Guptill can be sensational when he gets going, as we saw in the last World Cup, and Munro is equally lethal at his best. If they can be consistent, it sets the perfect platform for Williamson and co.
Expect Aaron Finch and David Warner to be in charge of the Aussie onslaught at the World Cup. Warner’s inclusion is an absolute boon for the men from down under, but he’ll need his captain to push on as well.
Finch is dangerous against the new ball, but has a tendency to throw it away at times. Australia will hope he’s on his A game in England.
3. South Africa
Can South Africa break their World Cup voodoo this time? If left to their openers, they just might do so. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla appear to be the first choice pairing for the Proteas, and we couldn’t ask for a better duo.
Quinton is the young and fearless opener who isn’t afraid to make full use of the powerplay, while Amla can steady the ship with exquisite skill. Perhaps chokers no more?
The 2013 Champions Trophy was a turning point in the careers of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as they realised just how efficient they can be as openers together.
This time too, India will depend on their friendship and understanding to give them a rollicking start in England just like they did here some six years ago.
Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy. Enough said. England possess no dearth of talent in their current ODI squad and are firm favourites to win on home soil.
Bairstow and Roy have taken their wonderful IPL form into the series against Pakistan and it’s unlikely that any team will be able to consistently stop their charge at the World Cup. Looking forward to some big scores from this partnership.