Monday, February 12, 2007


Duckworth-Lewis under scanner

After I got over the disbelief of England's 2-0 win over Australia in the finals, what got me interested was the declared margin of England's win. As per the D/L formula, England was declared victors by a margin of 34 runs.

Now, letz look at the context. England bats first, makes 246 in 50 overs. Aus chases and when rain curtails play, had made 152 runs in 27 overs loosing 8 wickets. A declared winning margin of 34 runs means, if Australia had made 187 runs in 27 overs at the loss of 8 wickets, they would have been declared winners. But then, in an uncurtailed match, Australia would have still needed 60 runs in 23 overs with just 2 wickets in hand! Now, if I were to bet on who would win, I would definitely not choose Aus!

So, does the Duckworth-Lewis system give more credit to tail-enders than what they deserve? Does it calculate that the tail can wag more than what history has shown?

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That's interesting Karthik. But D/L definitely doesn't think the last two wickets could put on 60 runs.

But you have to consider the two earlier rain interruptions as well. Australia were 38/2 after 6 overs when their innings was reduced to 41 overs. The target was reduced by 19 runs (to 227) for the 9 over reduction. The required run rate increased from 4.72 to 5.40. This is fair enough - the run rate has to go up because it only needs to be sustained for another 35 overs rather than 44.

Then Australia was 79/5 after 16.2 overs when the innings was further reduced to 33 overs. The target was reduced by 16 runs (to 211) for the 8 over reduction. The required run rate increased from 6.00 to 7.92.

When Australia's innings finished after 27 overs, the target score was 187, 24 runs short of the adjusted target. So, the D/L formula thought that the last two wickets would put on about 24 runs in the last 6 overs.

So, I don't see a problem with the targets considering the timing of the three interruptions. At the time of the final interruption, the match was only a 33 over match - it wasn't a 50 over match anymore so the number of runs required to get to the 50 over target didn't apply anymore.
Thanks for responding Shane. However, cant agree with your statement that the D/L formula assumed the last two wickets would put on the difference of 24 runs in 6 overs. That was what Australia missed out on. When the match was reduced to 33 overs, D/L method "thought" Aus can put on 132 runs with 5 wickets in another 16.4 overs, which is fair enough because the mess that was Aus was in (79/5 in 16.2 overs) is not of any concern to D/L!

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