Photo courtesy: Shania-Lee Swart’s Facebook page
Photo courtesy: Shania-Lee Swart’s Facebook page

Playing for Mpumalanga Women Under-19 against Easterns Women Under-19 in a Cricket South Africa (CSA) Girls T20 match at Pretoria on December 11, Shania-Lee Swart pulled off an amazing feat. While Shania-Lee biffed her way to an unbeaten 160, her teammates could not manage a single run between themselves despite the loss of 8 wickets. There were, however, 9 extras in the innings, which took the Mpumalanga score to 169 for 8. The main bowling success for the Easterners was Tumi Sekukune with 5 for 15 (including a hat-trick), while both Rode de Neysschen and Dieketseng Nchapelen got a wicket apiece.

Shania-Lee smashed 18 fours and 12 sixes in her innings, which meant that a whopping 144 (90%) of her runs came in boundaries. She faced a mere 86 balls, which gave her an astonishing strike rate of 186. While that was spectacular, it also meant that her teammates could not score off 37 balls (there were 3 no-balls).

The scorecard has a surreal look to it, more so because there were three maiden overs in the innings. Three girls, Jammie de Vos, Shivani Nades, and Lebone Tlou, registered golden ducks (Maria Malaza, Shivani, and Lebone were all part of Tumi’s hat-trick).

Shania-Lee was involved in two big partnerships. She added 50 for the fourth wicket with Yonilla Vellelo (who got a 9-ball duck), but the astonishing stand came with Nicholate Phiri for the ninth wicket. Nicholate walked out at 108 for 8. The pair added an unbroken 61, with Nicholate facing only 3 balls without scoring a run.

Scorecard of the innings.
Scorecard of the innings.

There have been several instances of strings of ducks in all forms of cricket. For example, playing against Surrey at Lord’s in 1872, MCC were reduced to 0 for 7 before they ‘recovered’ to 16.

In a Cheshire League Third Division match of 2014, Wirral Cricket Club were bowled out for 3 against Haslington. The innings included 2 extras, while No. 11 Charles Hodson remained unbeaten on 1. There were 10 ducks. In a Nidderdale and District Amateur Club League match of 2006, Goldsborough Second XI were bowled out for 5 against Dishworth. The 5 runs came from a leg-bye and 4 byes. And in 1913, Glastonbury bowled out Huish and Langport for zero.

However, while these innings had long strings of ducks, there was no massive score at one end, which makes Shania-Lee’s astonishing effort that bit spectacular. As far as our knowledge goes, there is no instance of this in world cricket at any level.

As for the match, the Easterns managed only 127 for 6 in response, losing by 42 runs (and scoring 33 less than Shania-Lee). With 2 for 21, Shania-Lee led the bowling figures as well (in case you are surprised by the fact that she opened batting and bowling and pulled off both with panache, it must also be said here that Shania-Lee is also proficient in basketball and indoor hockey). Her teammates de Vos and Njabulo Nkabinde also picked up a wicket apiece. For Easterns, Carmen Nagel slammed 63 from 49 balls, Rode got 19 from 20, and Tumi, 10 from 14.

Brief scores:

Mpumalanga 169 for 8 in 20 overs (Shania-Lee Swart 160*; Tumi Sekukune 5 for 15, Rode de Neysschen 1 for 18, Dieketseng Nchapelen 1 for 56) beat Easterns 127 (Carmen Nagel 63, Rode de Neysschen 19, Tumi Sekukune 10; Shania-Lee Swart 2 for 21; Jammie de Vos 1 for 34, Njabulo Nkabinde 1 for 10).