World Cup flashback: The slowest game ever in the ODI history

England chased down the target of 46 runs in 13.5 for the loss of two wickets.

Mike Brearley
Mike Brearley. (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Getty Images)

Canada made a tough ODI debut during the 1979 World Cup hosted by England. In their first game against Pakistan, the debutants were limited to just 139/9 in the 60 overs. Pakistan, in response, chased down the target with eight wickets and 19.5 overs to spare. The new entrants to the Cricket World Cup were set to face the hosts England in their second game.

The English side, on the other hand, got better of Australia in their opening match as they comfortably chased down the target of 160 runs. The England-Canada that was scheduled to be played on June 13th did not happen due to rain and the reserve day had to be used. Canada elected to bat as they did during the first game and struggled to score runs at a good pace. Canada’s innings was moving at a scoring rate of around one run per over.


Their No.3 batsman Franklyn Dennis was the only player to get into double-digits in their innings as he scored 21 off 99 deliveries with two fours. His innings was cut short when Bob Wills got him hit-wicket. Wills (10.3-3-11-4) and Chris Old (10-5-8-4) bagged 4-wicket hauls for the home side. The associate nation was bundled out for only 45 despite batting for 40.3 overs. They thus recorded the then lowest ODI total which stood as the record till 1992 and as the lowest World Cup total until the CWC 2003.

A slow chase:

Chasing mere 46 to win, one would have expected England to chase it down in about 7-8 overs against the weaker opponent. However, Canada did bowl well to dismiss the opposition skipper John Brearley for a 10-ball duck. England were two down for 11 runs but safely reached the target in 13.5 overs. Their victory with 277 balls to spare is till date the biggest ODI win in terms of balls.

England players
England players. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The record-breaking game:

The run rate of 1.67 in the match is the lowest ever in a completed ODI. No other completed ODI match till date had a RR less than 2 runs. This was mainly due to Canada’s slow-paced innings that had an RR of mere 1.11. No team’s completed ODI innings as of today had a run rate less than 1.5 runs. There is hardly any chance of this record getting broken in the future given the nature of the ODI format that has been evolving over the years.