D/L Method vs VJD Method: A perfect system for imperfect reality?

The only serious challenger to the D/L method has been developed by V Jayadevan, a Kerala-based engineer. For most people who follow the game, both methods are still somewhat mysterious. That they are different is obvious, but given the raging debate about which is 'better', how are they different?

updated: June 06, 2012 11:47 IST
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In 1998, India were part of a tri-series in Sri Lanka, with New Zealand the third team. In a league match, the Indian bowlers restricted New Zealand to 219 for eight. In reply, India were cruising at 131 for two in 24.2 overs when rain forced the match to be abandoned. According to the existing rules, the team batting second had to bat 25 overs in a rain-affected match to constitute a completed ODI match, so points were shared.

Incredibly enough, had four more balls been bowled, New Zealand would have fancied their chances more than India, even though India needed just 88 more runs with 25.4 overs and eight wickets to go, at a required run-rate of 3.43 per over. Under the rain rules at that point, India needed to have scored 147 in 25 overs. The archaic rule thus demanded that two-thirds of the runs required be scored in half the overs, with only two wickets lost.

The 1992 World Cup semifinal between England and South Africa is often cited as the major reason for cricket needing a better rain rule, but until the Duckworth-Lewis system (D/L) was introduced in 1999, there were many other absurd results that the game lived with. The D/L method liberated cricket from the most glaring inequalities with a system that was elegant, took overs left and wickets lost into account, and most importantly, didn't deliver results that seemed intuitively wrong.

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