Duckworth-Lewis is here to stay

Most people think that Duckworth-Lewis is a fair system for rain-affected games and it is here to stay till another system is found.

updated: September 04, 2007 13:35 IST
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Most people think that Duckworth-Lewis is a fair system for rain-affected games. At least, you don't have a team needing 22 runs off one ball, which is what happend to South Africa in the 1992 World Cup.

But professors Duckworth and Lewis, who came up with the complicated formula have also been rubbished most notably by Geoffrey Boycott who thinks it's absurd that a team can sometime have to chase a target of 250 when the side batting first only scored 220.

But therein lies the beauty or practicality of the system which will also be used for the Twenty-20 world cup.

Rain robbed the Yorkshire cricket fans off a super Sunday match. The fifth ODI between England and India ended with Duckworth-Lewis system deciding on the fate of the game.

While the losing side always feels that statistics is unfair, the truth is that there is no better system. Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis are two names that all cricket captains and fans are weary of.

Rahul Dravid is said to be a great student of the game but the D/L system obviously confuses him as well. That's why the Indian captain had to look at a piece of paper during the fifth one-dayer against England on Sunday.

But Frank Duckworth, one half of the two mathematicians who created the system, thinks the concept is quite simple even if the mathematical formula is'nt.

Asked to explain the method in one line he said, "That's a very difficult question. Lets say when the overs are lost to the weather then you don't correct the target in proportion to the number of overs lost but in proportion to the runs scored in resources which are lost. These are a combination of the overs remaining and the wickets and we have a mathematical formula which combines these two resources and that's what we use. So when a certain number of overs are lost, you can calculate from the table."

Frank Duckworth, however, admitted it was difficult to explain it to a lay man easily.

Cricketers are'nt meant to be mathematicians but they are expected to understand the D/L system. Sadly Shaun Pollock and his entire team did'nt manage to crack the code, which is why the South African team made such an early exit from the world Cup after losing a rain-interuptted game to Sri Lanka.

And contrary to popular perception the D/L system does not favour the side batting first.

Tony Lewis reported in a journl how D/L has performed. In uninterrupted matches side batting first wins 53 to 54 per cent occasions. It is almost exactly in D/L method.

You either understand it or you don't but the fact is that the D/L system is here to stay till such time as some else finds a less complicated system. We can only hope.