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February 7, 2012

Duckworth-Lewis

Someone, please explain the D/L method

Michael Jeh
Suresh Raina was caught while attempting a pull, Australia v India, CB Series, 1st ODI, Melbourne, February 5, 2012
Saving up for a mad dash in the final overs isn't always recommended on Australian grounds  © AFP
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I'm no mathematician. Messrs Duckworth & Lewis clearly have brains vastly superior to mine. Until yesterday, I have largely agreed with their complex system of making a rain-affected target a fair outcome for both teams. Looking at it from a pure layman's perspective though, I cannot understand how India's target the other night at the MCG remained unchanged. Someone, educate me....please.

When the rain came, Australia were struggling at 2 for 35 off 11 overs. India had already benefited from their skill at this point of the game, taking two key wickets at roughly 3 runs-per-over. Australia then batted superbly to score at almost 9 an over, losing only three more wickets in the process. I would have thought (clearly mistakenly) that the brilliance of their post-rain innings would have resulted in a target that was more than the 216 they eventually posted. India had already taken two wickets, so by getting rid of David Warner and Ricky Ponting, they had effectively reduced Australia's firepower. Sadly for them, and great credit to Matthew Wade and the Hussey brothers, Australia were able to recover from this poor start and stage an impressive comeback. Where was the reward for that great recovery?

From a commonsense viewpoint, it seemed to me that India would need to have chased at least 10-15 runs more to compensate for the fact that they knew all along that it was only 32 overs. They could afford to play shots from the very outset because they didn't have to try to bat 50 overs, which is what Warner and Ponting thought they were doing at the start, hence the cautious approach (and some fine bowling from the Kumar duo).

In the end it didn't matter because India were realistically never in the hunt after they lost early wickets. It was the sort of chase that needed a Virender Sehwag or Yuvraj Singh presence. MS Dhoni may have been able to score at that pace but on a big Australian ground, it was always going to be tough to hit sixes at will. I was surprised at Dhoni's reticence to go for the big shot, I must confess. I know he favours the approach of getting within striking distance and then trying to win it in a mad dash but I don't think that works in Australia. The boundaries are too big and you generally won't get too many overs of spin bowled at you at the death. Pakistan batsmen love this approach and they're pretty good at it too but I think Dhoni is making a serious miscalculation by letting the run rate drift too high before launching his assault. He doesn't have the lower-order support to be able to do that over an extended target.

Perth might be one of the few grounds where you can hit sixes straight down the ground and score at 10 an over at the end of a game. Homebush in Sydney, where the first Twenty20 game was played last Wednesday has similar potential for a late flourish. But if India keep choosing to chase runs and adopt a strategy of waiting for the last five overs before they go ballistic, I don't think that strategy will work in this country. Even if Duckworth-Lewis doesn't hurt them in the way I expected it to on Sunday night.

Looking forward to your thoughts on whether Duckworth-Lewis got it right on this occasion.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

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Keywords: Laws/Rules

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Posted by silverpie on (March 21, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Four down with 21 overs to go is 45.8% resource, with only six to go it is 18.8%, so Team B has lost 27.0% of its resources and has 73.0% to work with. 73.0% of 238 is 174, so under D/L, you wouldn't even need to resume--you'd already have won. (In fact, the match would have been decided when three overs were lost, as that would have brought the target to 229.)

How any method could possibly increase the target for an interruption in the second team's innings, when the first team had already laid down its mark, is beyond me.

Posted by Anonymous on (March 18, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

i hv a situation...Team A -238/9 (50 overs) whn rain interrupted play Team B was 231/4 in 29 ovrs .when resuming the target had to be set for 35 overs.What would that be according to the D/L method? pls tell me the target,because the target which was actually given was 258(in a local match)

Posted by anon on (March 13, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

In actual fact, it is more complex, with batting/bowling power plays, team composition, size of ground, wheather etc. It is partly luck, partly logic - the amount varies based on situation. It is basically luck again,like the toss result. If you accepted it,then dont complain. You cant have this 100% - it is the beauty of uncertainty

Posted by MondoTV on (February 20, 2012, 5:30 GMT)

Overcomplicating such a simple thing - look at that Australia might have been on target to get in 50 overs (that is what DL is a statistical method based on historical games), then look at what they did get - if they got more than they might have under those conditions then their score won't go up except by a small compensation factor for being interrupted. If they got a lot more than what they would have their score won't change much at all. Which is what happened - very simple. Whatever happens you can only revise a target down if the team batting second has to face less overs - that wasn't the case here. In an interrupted first innings the team batting second nearly always has the advantage but in this case that was offset by other factors - the end result seemed fair enough.

Posted by prashant on (February 17, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

I am just putting my nose into it but in my opinion if Australia's 2 wickets have not been fallen then probably target for India would have increased

Posted by crikkfan on (February 12, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

Wonder what target the Jayadevan method would have come up with! anyone else?

Posted by Castor on (February 12, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

Cannot believe the number of people discussing powerplays, etc. clearly 1/3 of Australia's game was played under the impression of 50 overs. Cricket (golf for example) are very much mind games - 1/3 of Australias game was played under the wrong impression. Tell how come Australia's 'game' was so different after the rain delay: because prior to the rain delay (1/3 of Australia's game) was played with the view of 50 overs. If it was all just a matter of India's 'great bowling' then what happened to it after the rain delay??

Posted by Castor on (February 12, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

In the end Australia played ONE THIRD of their match under the impression it was 50 overs. India played ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of their match knowing it was 50 overs. D/L is a mess.

Posted by Castor on (February 12, 2012, 2:01 GMT)

D/L has always appeared to be the most consistent method up until the other night. The fact Australia won convincingly means this is not a whinge (cos we lost, we didn't). D/L has now proved itself completely useless.

Posted by Sarthak on (February 11, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

I disagree some what. Although i don't understand D/L method but what i thought that India was at receiving end this time. As u see Australia got first 10 overs of power play although they dint utilize it well but for Indian side two bowlers who were bowling well that time had finished 5 of their 7 over quota. If Dhoni would have known it before he would have shuffled them well.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Jeh
Born in Colombo, educated at Oxford and now living in Brisbane, Michael Jeh (Fox) is a cricket lover with a global perspective on the game. An Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, he is a Playing Member of the MCC and still plays grade cricket. Michael now works closely with elite athletes, and is passionate about youth intervention programmes. He still chases his boyhood dream of running a wildlife safari operation called Barefoot in Africa.

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