One of the interesting things about cricket is that an innings can, theoretically, end without a run being scored.
It’s never happened in the professional game, although there has been one instance of it occurring in the amateur ranks. Huish and Langport were skittled out without scoring against Glastonbury in a Somerset league game back in 1913.
But a new low for professional cricket was set in February 2023 when the Isle of Man, who are now officially recognised by the ICC as an associate member, were bowled out for a rather embarrassing total of ten by Spain.
You won’t be surprised to learn that’s officially the lowest-ever score by an international team, while a deep-dive into the reams of stats available at CricInfo also confirms this to be the lowest total recorded in any format of the game in history.
But what were the previous lowest innings scores in test, ODI and T20 cricket?
What Is the Lowest Ever Score in Test Cricket?
South African cricket was at something of a low ebb in the fledgling years of the sport in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and at one point they had contributed the four lowest innings totals in test cricket.
Their tally of 30, recorded against England in 1896, was the lowest-score in test cricket for the best part of six decades.
And the Proteas were also rustled out for 30 again in 1924, with England again the culprits in Birmingham, with other totals of 35 and 36 around that time proof positive of how hard South Africa found life in the early days of test cricket.
However, their nadir would be surpassed on March 25, 1955. In a game against England in Auckland, New Zealand posted the bizarre total of 26 all out from 25 overs, with one player – Bert Sutcliffe – contributing eleven of those runs. England’s Johnny Wardle didn’t concede a single run from the five overs he bowled!
What Is the Lowest Ever Score in an ODI?
The lowest innings score in a one-day international is 35, with two teams contributing that most unwanted of records.
Zimbabwe were skittled by Sri Lanka in an ODI back in 2004, and to make matters worse the humiliation came on home soil in Harare.
The Sri Lankans won the toss and decided to insert Zimbabwe into bat in helpful conditions, with legendary seamer Chaminda Vaas laying waste to the opposition with a fine spell of 4-11. Joint top-scorer with seven runs for Zimbabwe was extras!
At least the Zimbabwean players’ misery was over quickly. Sri Lanka took just 39 minutes to make their target for the loss of one wicket.
In February 2020, the USA were blasted out for 35 by Nepal in an ICC World Cup qualifier. Sandeep Lamichane took six wickets for the hosts in Kirtipur, although their reply was not without drama as they were reduced at one stage to 2-2.
What Is the Lowest Ever Score in a T20 Game?
As we’ve learned, the Isle of Man now enjoy the unwanted status of having posted the lowest-ever score in a T20 game.
But the previous record was set barely two months earlier in an extraordinary Big Bash League game over in Australia.
The Adelaide Strikers won the toss in their December 16, 2022 clash with Sydney Thunder, and after electing to bat first they posted a so-so target of 139/9.
The Thunder must have thought they were in with a good chance of winning, but after just two overs of their reply the scorecard 5-3. Matthew Gilkes, Rilee Rossouw and Jason Sangha were back in the hutch, with Alex Hales and Daniel Sams joining them in the next over as the Strikers reduced their opponents to 9-5.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with a solitary boundary from Brendan Doggett accounting for almost 25% of the Thunder’s final score.
When Doggett was dismissed in the fifth over, the Thunder had been bowled out for just 15 runs off 35 balls.
The previous lowest total in an international T20 came in an associate member game between Turkey and the Czech Republic in 2019.
The Czechs batted first and amassed a whopping 278/4, with Sudesh Wickramasekara blasting 104 not out from just 36 balls.
No doubt demoralised after a tough afternoon in the field, Turkey were rolled out for just 21 in eight overs. And talk about having a day: Wickramasekara would take two wickets in nine balls to complete what will surely be his finest day in cricket.