Chris Old tore the heart out of Canada that day © Getty Images
Chris Old tore the heart out of Canada that day © Getty Images

Canada were skittled out for 45 by England at Old Trafford on June 14, 1979. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the once-lowest score in ODIs.

Canada came second in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers (after Sri Lanka), thus sneaking through as the eighth team in World Cup 1979. They even managed to bat out their full quota of 60 overs against Pakistan at Headingley, scoring 139 for nine, though they lost by eight wickets. England, on the other hand, steamrolled a Kerry Packer-depleted Australia by six wickets at Lord’s.

When the teams met at Old Trafford, nobody gave Canada a chance, though nobody was prepared for what followed at Old Trafford. Rain ruled out play for the day, forcing the organisers to use the reserve day. Play could not continue beyond an hour on the reserve day either, and when they did, Bryan Mauricette decided to bat against a four-pronged pace attack consisting of Bob Willis, Mike Hendrick, Ian Botham, and Chris Old.

A new ODI low

Canada were no match for the English seamers. Glenroy Sealy fell early; Christopher Chappell, the only Chappell of the tournament, hung around for 31 balls for 5; Tariq Javed scored 4 off 40 balls before Old trapped him leg-before; and the floodgates opened. Old clean-bowled John Vaughan, Cecil Marshall, and Martin Stead.

Franklyn Dennis was the only one to stand firm, scoring a 99-ball 21 before he was hit wicket off Willis, who mopped up the last four wickets in the space of seven runs. Canada were bowled out for 45 in 40.3 overs, the lowest ODI score at that time. It still remains the joint seventh-lowest, and the joint second-lowest of all time (the lowest is held by Canada as well).

Lowest ODI team scores (as of 2014)

 Team R O Against Venue Year
Zimbabwe 35 18 Sri Lanka Harare 2004
Canada 36 18.4 Sri Lanka Paarl 2003 World Cup
Zimbabwe 38 15.4 Sri Lanka SSC 2001
Pakistan 43 19.5 West Indies Newlands 1993
Sri Lanka 43 20.1 South Africa Paarl 2012
Zimbabwe 44 24.5 Bangladesh Chittagong 2009
Canada 45 40.3 England Old Trafford 1979 World Cup
Namibia 45 14 Australia Potchefstroom 2003 World Cup

The English bowling figures, led by the spectacular Old and supported brilliantly by Willis (and a miserly Hendrick), made spectacular reading:

  O M R W Econ
Bob Willis 10.3 3 11 4 1.05
Mike Hendrick 8 4 5 1 0.63
Ian Botham 9 5 12 1 1.33
Geoff Miller 2 1 1 0 0.50
Geoff Boycott 1 0 3 0 3.00
Chris Old 10 5 8 4 0.80

A stroll on a rainy day

Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott began cautiously before the former was trapped leg-before off John Valentine. Derek Randall was bowled by Robert Callender, a heavy storm stopped proceedings between 3.30 PM and 7 PM, following which play resumed amidst bright sunshine. Graham Gooch walked out and helped England to victory with two fours and six in the 14th over.

What followed?

– Canada finished their campaign with a 7-wicket defeat against Australia. Their next World Cup appearance came in 2003, where there promptly won their first match against Bangladesh.

– England beat Pakistan by 14 runs in a contest to avoid West Indies in the semifinal. They beat West Indies, but lost the final by 92 runs, thanks to Viv Richards’ 138 not out and Joel Garner’s five-wicket haul.

Brief scores:

Canada 45 in 40.3 overs (Bob Willis 4 for 11, Chris Old 4 for 8) lost to England 46 for 2 in 13.5 overs by 8 wickets with 277 balls to spare.

Man of the match: Chris Old.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)