We have seen many low-scoring innings’ in International cricket, Indians can hardly forget the summer of 1974 where they were all down for only 42 runs in the Lord’s Test during their tour of England. Zimbabwe holds the record for the lowest score in an ODI, having only secured 35 runs in their clash against Sri Lanka back in 2004. But now, we are going to talk bout the shortest and the most entertaining format of the game.
With only 120 balls to face, there is hardly any time to plan an innings in Twenty-20 cricket. You have to hit shots and put as many runs as possible on the board. These high-voltage ties have produced many memorable moments in its short history and we have seen teams score massive totals by virtue of flawless hard-hitting, but there have been cases where players have struggled to score runs freely due to impressive and disciplined bowling and tough batting conditions.
Let us have a look at the lowest T20 International totals by Top 10 Teams:
10) South Africa (100) vs Pakistan, 2013
South Africa is the first team on our list, being a very strong T20 side, many would hardly believe that the Proteas were bowled out for only 100 runs. It is also a point to be noted that the Afrian team is the only squad in this list to have recorded a triple-digit score. The SuperSport Park in Centurion was the venue for the 2nd and last T20 International of the series with the first called off without a ball being bowled.
Pakistan rode on the 86-run innings by skipper Mohammad Hafeez to score a mammoth 196 runs in the stipulated 20 overs. The ‘Proteas’ were taken aback by the fierce bowling of Umar Gul who took 5 wickets in just 2.2 overs. It was a magical spell indeed! Hafeez contributed with the ball as well, chipping in with 3 wickets. The hosts crawled throughout the innings are were dismissed exactly on 100 runs in the 13th over.
9) Zimbabwe (84) vs New Zealand, 2010
After hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time in 2007, the West Indies got the opportunity to stage its first World T20 in 2010. In a rain-curtailed match, the African nation managed to gather only 84 runs on the board, with only 3 players getting into double figures, Tatenda Taibu scored 21 while Hamilton Masakadza scored 20.
Spinner Nathan McCullum and medium-pacer Scott Styris were the stand-out bowlers taking 3 wickets each. Though the total was small, New Zealand did not get the opportunity to surpass the total as rain played spoilsport when Brendon McCullum was batting alongside Martin Guptill. Eventually, the match was called off and the Kiwis won the group stage fixture with 9 wickets in hand via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
8) Sri Lanka (82) vs India, 2016
With the 3-match series levelled at 1-1, both India and Sri Lanka went for the kill ahead of the Asia Cup and World T20 which followed it in a few weeks’ time. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is known for his tactical gambles inside the cricket field, tossed the ball to spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the beginning and guess what? He did not disappoint as the spinner picked up the first 4 wickets in quick succession and the visitors were 5 down for 21 runs in the sixth over.
The Lankans never recovered from the situation, and the rest of the bowlers like Suresh Raina and Jasprit Bumrah piled on to their misery and humbled them out for just 82 runs with 2 overs to spare. Later on, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane calmly steered India to a 9-wicket victory and also a series win in Visakhapatnam.
7) England (80) vs India, 2012
Opener Gautam Gambhir and Delhi-born cricket sensation Virat Kohli played their way to a healthy score of 170 runs during the group stages of the 2012 World T20 at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Spinners do get an additional advantage in the sub-continent and that was proved once again in this game.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh did not miss the opportunity to make full use of the conditions picking up 4 wickets and leggy Piyush Chawla also chipped in with a couple of strikes. Craig Kieswetter was a lone bright star in the English XI scoring 35 runs while the rest crumbled accumulating only 80 runs in less than 15 overs.
6) West Indies (79/7)
West Indies is the most consistent nation in the shortest format having won the World T20 twice and boasts of having the perfect blend of players suited for 20-over matches. If a team scores only 105 runs in the first innings, it is quite easy to predict that the chasing side will cruise to victory.
This is a case a bit different from the rest; the West Indies played out their quota of 120 balls and reached only 79 runs but had 3 wickets left in the end. Economical spin bowling from Prosper Utseya, Raymond Price and Graeme Cremer ensured the Denesh Ramdin-led side was never in contention for winning the one-off tie.
Cremer was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets while Greg Lamb picked up a couple.
5) Australia (79) vs England, 2005
The first T20 International match was played in 2005 between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland. Ricky Ponting’s blistering 98-run innings guided Australia its first T20 International win. A few months later, England played host to the Aussies for the 2nd T20 International ever at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
In days where 20-over matches were treated as attachments to a tour, the English batsmen played hard-hitting cricket to set a target of 180 runs for the ‘Baggy Greens’. The first four batsmen in the run chase were Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke, a dream opening 4, isn’t it?
But it is also said that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Debutant Jon Lewis, who played only 1 T20 International after that day, bowled a memorable spell of 4 wickets for 24 runs and was well supported by Darren Gough who picked another three. The Australian’s were crippled to score only 79 runs in an innings which lasted for a bit more than an hour.
4) Pakistan (74) vs Australia, 2012
Pakistan were the winners of the 2009 ICC World T20 after their heartbreak in the final of the inaugural tournament in 2007; they have always been a formidable T20 side. Like the West Indies, the Asian giants also had suitable players in their squad for the shortest format but there are certain days when things don’t go your way.
The third T20 International in 2012 between Australia and Pakistan was once such day. With Pakistan already gaining a series winning lead of 2-0 in the series, the last game was a formality. David Warner’s 59-run innings helped the Aussies to post a strong total of 168 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The ‘Baggy Greens’ are known for their fierce bowling attack, and once again they proved how lethal they can be. Fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were spot on, taking 3 wickets each to win the tie as a consolation.
3) India (74) vs Australia, 2008
Back in 2008, T20 Cricket was still a relatively a new format and nations only played a handful of matches among them. Yet, the 2007 T20 World Cup triumph in South Africa made the approach of the Indians to the new format quite serious. During India’s tour to Australia in 2007/08, India lost the Test series but scripted a famous victory at the WACA.
The lone T20 match was sandwiched between the Tests and the ODI series during that tour. India was pretty confident being the defending World Champions, but it is never easy to defeat the Kangaroos at their own backyard. The Indian batting display was sorrowful with only a single batsman attaining the double-figure mark.
Stalwarts like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir failed to show their class and the visitors were dismantled for 74 runs in front of the strong crowd present at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Following the T20, the “Men in Blue” displayed brilliant performances in the ODIs and won the Tri-Nation which also included Sri Lanka but this T20 will forever remain in memory.
2) Bangladesh (70) vs New Zealand, 2016
This is the most recent match in our list which took place a few months back during the 2016 ICC World T20. With New Zealand already having qualified for the semi-finals, Bangladesh was keen to secure a win after losing a nail-biting encounter to arch-rivals India.
Despite having a decent start, the ‘Black Caps’ fell into the trap of speedster Mustafizur Rahman who picked up 5 wickets in his 4-over quota and restricted the island nation to a moderate 145 runs. It was a very disappointing sight to see the Bangladeshi batsman struggling against the promising spinner Ish Sodhi and part-time medium pacer Grant Elliot as they steered the team from down under to a massive 75-run victory and ensured they top the group.
It was sad especially for the thousands of Bangladeshi fans who gathered at the iconic Eden Gardens to witness the clash.
1) New Zealand (60) vs Sri Lanka, 2014
New Zealand tops the list for their total of 60 runs against Sri Lanka in the T20 International which was played during the 2014 World T20. In the Group League match played at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, Bangladesh, the Kiwis bowled pretty well as they bundled out the Lankans to a mere 119 runs with 4 balls to spare. What looked like a walk in the park for any team, turned out to be a nightmare for Brendon McCullum and Co.
Spin sensation Rangana Herath uprooted the Black Caps’ batting line-up. With magical figures of 5 wickets for only 3 runs, the innings ended in just 15.3 overs. The most surprising fact was that only one Kiwi batsman got into double figures and 4 of them departed without scoring a run.