It is no secret that the shortest format of the game is inherently batsmen-friendly. The bowlers are often meted out serf-like treatment while the batsmen are the proverbial kings of the format. But, at the end of the day, despite all the personal exploits, cricket is a team sport and a cumulative effort is required to achieve victory.
Teams hunt in packs, sometimes in pairs and while the high-flying catches, explosive stroke-making, etc. might entertain the crowds, it also comes down to the individual knowing their role in the team. Sometimes the game can be taken away from a team just by the two batsmen out in the middle. There have been plenty of instances in the past were the two men out in the middle play out of their skin and drag the team to victory.
On that note, let us take a look at the five highest partnerships recorded in IPL history.
#5 David Warner and Naman Ojha - 189* (Delhi Daredevils vs Deccan Chargers)
After being set a target of 187 thanks to the performances of Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White for the Deccan Chargers, the onus was on the Delhi Daredevils batsmen to guide the team to victory. Possessing the likes of Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Andre Russell, Naman Ojha, etc. the Delhi-based team had the firepower to get the job done.
David Warner made his second appearance of the season for Daredevils and opened the innings with Virender Sehwag. The only time the Chargers had any hope was when Ryan Harris dismissed Virender Sehwag with the second ball of the innings. However, that was squashed immediately. Warner and Ojha ripped apart the Deccan Chargers bowlers as the former scored his second century for the franchise.
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It was an exhibition of such destructive batting that Delhi chased down the score with more than three overs to spare. Naman Ojha scored a brilliant 64 not out as he played second fiddle to Warner's incredible innings.
#4 Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli - 204* (Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils)
Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle hold the record for the fourth highest partnership in IPL history. It came against the Delhi Daredevils in a match in which Delhi won the toss and decided to let Royal Challengers Bangalore bat first. It proved to be the wrong decision as RCB would go on to post a massive score of 215 thanks to the unbeaten 204 run partnership between Kohli and Gayle.
The whole nation was in the midst of the Gayle storm that year and Gayle duly delivered once again in Delhi. The Daredevils were cock a hoop after dismissing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan early on. Confidence was running high but then came Virat Kohli to the crease and the RCB stalwart along with Gayle did not look back. Every Delhi bowler had an economy rate of over 9.5 with sixes being deposited into every part of the stadium.
Gayle and Kohli remained unbeaten on 128 and 73 respectively as RCB beat the hosts by 21 runs with Ross Taylor being the only one to score a 50 for Delhi. Zaheer Khan was the pick of the bowlers for the team from Bangalore with three wickets.
#3 Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh - 206 (Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore)
After losing the wicket of Paul Valthaty early on, it was down to Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh to post a competitive total for Punjab against the mighty RCB batting lineup. And that they did. It was absolute anarchy from the Australian duo as every RCB bowler paid the price for the menacing mood that they were in.
With two left-handers at the crease, this was as aesthetically pleasing as it could ever be. Not to forget the sheer dominance, though as Gilchrist scored106 off 55 balls with nine maximums including a 122m six against Charles Langeveldt. Shaun Marsh continued his good form and remained unbeaten on 79.
It was such a vicious exhibition of batting that the RCB batting line-up, comprising the likes of Chirs Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, etc., crumbled for a mere 121 with Piyush Chawla picking up four wickets for the Kings XI Punjab.
#2 Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers - 215* (Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians)
At their absolute peak, there are no two better modern-day batsmen than Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. What's even more terrifying is when they are at the crease together. They have repeatedly showcased to the entire world that they are every bowler's worst nightmare. From scintillating shots to rapid running between the wickets, these two greats of the game possess every weapon in their arsenal.
The game against the Mumbai Indians in Mumbai was a testament to this fact. For once, Chris Gayle failed to have a big innings, but Kohli and de Villiers duly delivered. Kohli and de Villiers scored 82 and 133 respectively, as they conjured up an unbeaten partnership of 215 runs. Harbhajan Singh and Hardik Pandya together conceded 81 runs off five overs.
Chasing a very strong total of 235, the Mumbai Indians were never really in the game as Rohit Sharma and co. were restricted to 196 with Harshal Patel being the pick of the bowlers for RCB with two wickets.
#1 Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers - 229 (Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Lions)
It was yet another display of sheer dominance from Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, but this time it was against the Gujarat Lions. Batting first, RCB lost Gayle before the fourth over of the innings. That is when the show well and truly started. With Kohli and de Villiers at the crease, there was no helping the Gujarat Lions bowlers.
Despite playing under the hot conditions in Bangalore, the duo barely broke a sweat as they dispatched the bowling attack to all parts of the ground. The crowd, which had flooded in to watch their favorite team play, were treated to an absolute spectacle. Kohli and de Villiers scored 109 and 129 respectively as the Indian captain was dismissed in the final over of the innings.
The Lions had to chase down a mammoth total of 249 to win. With their morale shattered after the first innings display from RCB, they were bowled out for a paltry 104 as the Bangalore-based team won by 144 runs.