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ODI Cricket World Cup 2023: Ranking top 10 openers

Rohit Sharma (Photo Source: Twitter)

After a gruelling Cricket World Cup 2023, India and Australia moved their attention to T20Is as the two teams got involved in a five-match series. India lost the World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad by six wickets as Australia won their sixth crown. 

One common thing in the success of both the finalists as well as semi-finalists South Africa was their experienced openers’ exceptional form. Illustrious names such as Rohit Sharma, David Warner and Quinton de Kock delivered impactful starts for their teams consistently and broke into the list of highest run-scorers. Noting their remarkable batting performances, let’s rank the 10 best openers of the tournament.

Here are the rankings of the 10 best opening batters

10. Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Rahmanullah Gurbaz looked decent with his bat in this World Cup. As an opener, he scored 280 runs in nine matches at a strike rate of 98.93. In Afghanistan’s memorable World Cup campaign, Gurbaz will be remembered for his swift knock against England at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. 

Mujeeb Ur Rahman received the Player of the Match award for his three-wicket haul in the famous win against the defending champions, but it was the young opener’s innings that emboldened the Afghan team. Riding on his sensational knock of 80 (57), Afghanistan bagged a convincing 69-run win against Jos Buttler and Co. 

After hammering the English team, Afghanistan’s next success came against Pakistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. This time, the 21-year-old stitched a 130-run partnership along with Ibrahim Zadaran and gave a perfect start to his side. In the end, the Afghan team registered an eight-wicket win over the Men in Green and Gurbaz contributed 65 (53) from his bat.

9. Pathum Nissanka

Sri Lanka disappointed their supporters with their performance in this competition. The 1996 champions won only two off their nine contests and ended in the ninth spot on the points table. In their dismal campaign, their opener Pathum Nissanka performed well with the bat. 

The right-handed batter amassed 332 runs in nine games at an impressive average of 41.50. He scored four consecutive fifties in the tournament and joined the league of great batters such as Kumara Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, and Chamara Silva, who hit four half-centuries for Sri Lanka in a World Cup edition.

After debuting with a three-ball duck in his maiden World Cup game against South Africa in Delhi, the young opener smashed fifties against quality sides such as Pakistan, Australia, and England.  

8. Devon Conway

New Zealand’s fabulous World Cup campaign ended with their 70-run loss at the hands of India in the semi-final. Earlier in the competition, the Kiwi side kicked off its campaign confidently with a nine-wicket victory against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium. Devon Conway played an illustrious role in his team’s outstanding triumph.

Following 283 runs, the Black Caps lost Will Young early but Conway displayed his batting mettle. Along with Rachin Ravindra, the 32-year-old stitched an unbroken 273-run partnership to help his team emerge victorious. Conway starred in the incredible win with his unbeaten 152 (121).

7. Dawid Malan

England failed to defend the title under Jos Buttler. On one side, illustrious names such as Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, and skipper Buttler looked completely out of rhythm while Dawid Malan, who was playing his first and most probably the last World Cup, showcased his batting excellence. 

In nine outings, the 36-year-old piled up 404 runs with a ton and two fifties and emerged as the leading run-getter for the English side. England won three games in the entire tournament, in which Malan made important contributions with his bat in two victories.

Against Bangladesh, he played a remarkable 140-run knock off 107 balls and guided his side to an enormous 137-run triumph. In the 160-run win over the Netherlands, Ben Stokes received the Player of the Match award for his stunning 108-run innings (84 deliveries) and Malan also played a spunky knock of 87 (74). 

6. Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill has supported Rohit Sharma consistently to deliver ferocious starts to India in the tournament. After missing India’s first two games, the young opener made his World Cup debut against Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium. In the high-octane game, the Men in Blue emerged victorious by seven wickets, and Gill chipped in with 16 runs from 11 balls.

Virat Kohli scored his 48th ton against Bangladesh in Pune and guided India to a comprehensive seven-wicket win. In this success, Gill also made a silent contribution of 53 (55) from his bat. The star India opener’s next notable innings came against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium.

At the iconic venue, Rohit Sharma and his men crushed Sri Lanka by 302 runs, and the 24-year-old became the leading run-scorer in the contest, with his stupendous 92-run innings. In the semi-final win against New Zealand, Gill showed that he is a player of big matches with his unbeaten 80 (66).

5. Ibrahim Zadran

Afghanistan performed exceptionally in this World Cup and won several hearts. During their wonderful campaign, they got the better of the champion sides such as England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Their 21-year-old opener Ibrahim Zadran grabbed a lot of eyeballs for his batting displays.

Playing nine games, he hoarded 376 runs at an average of 47.00 and ended up as the highest run-scorer for his team. Zadran hit 87 runs (113 balls) and became the Player of the Match in the massive eight-wicket win against Pakistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

The Afghan side lost to Australia at the Wankhede Stadium due to Glenn Maxwell’s unprecedented 201-run innings but Zadran scripted history with his unbeaten 129 (143). The impressive ton against the five-time champions made him the first Afghan batter to notch up a World Cup century.

4. David Warner

Australia bagged a three-wicket win against South Africa in the semi-final at Eden Gardens to qualify for their ninth World Cup final. In the knockout game against the Proteas, the Aussies were tasked to chase 213 and David Warner delivered a fierce start to his team.

Playing a rapid 29-run innings off just 18 deliveries, he made the job of other batters easier. In the initial stage of the tournament, the veteran was facing criticism for the batting failures in his first three matches. The aggressive opener answered his critics with his exceptional 163-run knock off 124 deliveries against Pakistan in Bengaluru.

Australia secured the heaviest World Cup win against the Netherlands with their 309-run victory in Delhi. Warner hit the headlines for scoring his second hundred of the competition and equalling the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s record of six World Cup tons. 

3. Travis Head

Travis Head made his World Cup debut with a bang in the crucial contest against New Zealand in Dharamshala. Taking advantage of the batting-friendly surface, Head took New Zealand’s bowling unit to the cleaners and hit a spectacular century.

The southpaw wrapped up his innings on 109 off 67 and riding on his ton, Australia accumulated 388 runs in 49.2 overs. The Aussies registered a five-run win against the Kiwi side and Head became the Player of the Match for his extraordinary batting display.

After the Dharamshala contest, Head’s bat remained quiet in the league games but in the humongous semi-final against South Africa, he showcased his batting mettle again. Playing the knockout game at the iconic Eden Gardens, the 29-year-old grabbed the prized scalps of Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Jansen in the first innings.

After the marvellous bowling performance, Head hit a half-century to help his side pull off a target of 213 runs comfortably. If that was not enough, he delivered a Player of the Match performance in the most crucial game of the tournament, socring 137 off 120 to take Australia to a memorable win.

2. Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma has looked in brilliant touch with his bat in the World Cup. The 36-year-old has adopted a fierce playing style which helped him to dominate bowlers. In India’s second match against Afghanistan, he smashed a 131-run innings off 84 balls to become the batter with the most World Cup tons.

He continued his excellent form in the high-voltage contest against the arch-rivals Pakistan, racking up 86 off 63 to help his side pull off a target of 192 comfortably. The Men in Blue secured a 100-run win over England in Lucknow and Rohit again showcased his formidable side with his 87 runs off 101 deliveries.

In the knockout game against New Zealand, the veteran opener pounded the Kiwi bowlers in the powerplay overs and emboldened the confidence of the team with his swift 47 off 29. The India skipper gave another quick start to India in the final with his 47 off 31. Overall, he notched up 597 runs at a brilliant strike rate of 125.94 in 11 games and ended up as the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament behind Virat Kohli.

1. Quinton de Kock

South Africa’s journey in this World Cup ended with their three-wicket defeat to Australia in the semi-final at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. From the Proteas side, Quinton de Kock looked spectacular in the tournament and became the second-leading run-getter with 594 runs in 10 matches at a strike rate of 107.02.

In his team’s first two wins, he dominated the opponents Sri Lanka and Australia with his magnificent centuries. The Proteas star registered a 149-run win over Bangladesh at the Wankede Stadium and he struck 174 runs off 140 balls and became the wicketkeeper-batter with the highest individual score in the World Cup tournaments.

The 30-year-old bettered Australia’s Adam Gilchrist’s 149-run record against Sri Lanka (in the World Cup 2007 final) to become the owner of the sensational batting feat. de Kock scored four tons in this competition which made him the South Africa batter with the most centuries in a World Cup edition.

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