Kolkata Knight Riders v Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Kolkata May 15, 2016

'Duckworth-Lewis is rubbish' - Fleming

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'We thought 135 would have been a good score on the track' - Fleming

Rising Pune Supergiants coach Stephen Fleming lashed out at the Duckworth-Lewis method after his side's eight-wicket defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders, saying that the game was over for them as soon as the rule came into effect. The match in Kolkata on Saturday was marred by rain and a heavy spell interrupted Supergiants' innings with the score on 103 for 6 in 17.4 overs. After more than two hours of play were lost, Knight Riders were set 66 to win in nine overs, a target they achieved with four overs to spare. The defeat pushed Supergiants out of contention for a playoff spot.

"Duckworth-Lewis is rubbish," Fleming said after the match. "As soon you get stuck with Duckworth-Lewis the game is over. We could have gone to 135, maybe 140, maybe we could have hit 25 runs in the last three overs. [A total of]135 is good. The track was turning and it was going to be a difficult chase with our spinners, but as soon Duckworth-Lewis and rain [came in] the game was over. Simple as that.

"We thought 135 was a good score. It [the pitch] was difficult. It was turning, it was slow and it was going to get probably slower if there was no rain. So we looked at 135-140. We would have taken a little bit of getting there in terms of [scoring] 25 off the last three overs, but with Dhoni there, that is what he was looking forward to from the last two overs in particular. We were denied that."

Supergiants lost their in-form opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Usman Khawaja quickly after opting to bat on a pitch that seemed two-paced. George Bailey patiently carried out the repair work but Knight Riders tightened their grip with quick dismissals and attacking field placements for Supergiants captain MS Dhoni.

Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir placed himself at silly point and put a short leg and two slips around Dhoni's bat as soon as the batsman walked in in the 11th over. He then brought in a silly mid-off to try and tempt Dhoni into playing a mis-timed shot.

Gambhir had used similar tactics against Dhoni in the first match between the two teams in April in Pune. On that occasion, Dhoni quietly played out Sunil Narine before taking on the quicker bowlers. At Eden Gardens on Saturday, however, Dhoni had to craft a big finish on a track that was slowing down. As the last specialist batsman in the line-up, he adopted the safest approach, scampering for hard-run twos with the aim of unleashing the big shots in the final few overs.

Dhoni eventually ended on a subdued 8* off 22 deliveries and his strike rate of 36.36 was the lowest by a batsman who has faced more than 20 balls in all IPLs. His overall strike rate this season is 123.59, second-lowest among batsmen who have faced 100 or more balls at Nos. 4, 5, 6. Only David Miller's strike rate of 114.85 is poorer.

Fleming defended Dhoni's innings, stating that the only way to succeed on the pitch was to play the waiting game.

"The approach was we played positively. We lost wickets because the ball turned. Bailey got out to a very good ball as soon as Chawla and Narine came on," he said. "It was difficult to score. That is how we thought the pitch was going to be. We knew we were going to lose wickets throughout, it was that type of a pitch. If we scraped to 135-140 and, if someone played really well we could have got to 150. As soon as you reduce that score, with the wet ball and rain, it borders on the farcical."

Fleming said there was no point in analyzing whether Dhoni's approach was right or wrong. "There are not many stories here today apart from the fact that rain curtailed what could have been a tall chase. They might have come and got it but with our spinners, the longer the game went we would have had more chances. As soon as it was reduced, game over. Run-a-ball- basically and three overs in the Powerplay, we were never going to win a low-scoring game. That basically sums up our run in the tournament."

When asked if the ICC should look into how the D/L method is applied in T20s, Fleming said the rule was unsuitable to the format and he had brought up this issue in the past.

"I have said it for years. This [D/L method] doesn't suit this game. Others have said it, but it doesn't seem to be addressed. There is no point carrying on about it because there doesn't seem to be a willingness to change. But it is not made for T20 game. And I have said that for years - it is just ridiculous for the team that fields second. Until it is addressed you have just got to hope the skies don't open, and try and really forecast. We thought it was going to be fine, but obviously it wasn't."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pelham_Barton on May 18, 2016, 16:05 GMT

    forExcelienceInCricket on May 18, 2016, 5:20 GMT: All that the later match shows is that 135 was within the range of possible totals for Pune in the earlier match. It does not show that such a figure was likely, let alone certain, nor does it have anything to do with Mr Fleming's claim that 135 could have been a winning score.

    It should be obvious that any rain rule must be based on what teams actually did, not on a near maximum projection of Team 1's total when their innings is cut short.

  • forExcelienceInCricket on May 18, 2016, 5:20 GMT

    Contrary to views of some, RPS's coach views on DLM are spot on. His views have got vindicated by DD v RPS match 2. DD scored 30 runs in 19th & 20th over, taking the score to 121(from 91). The prediction logic of DLM therefore has serious limitations. Also the power play duration computation logic is flawed. For a 20 overs (120 ball) match the power play duration @ 30% is computed as 36 balls (6 overs). By the same logic for 9 overs (54 balls) match the power play duration is 16.2 (after rounding off it is 16 balls). KKR were therefore allocated 2 extra balls in power play.

  • smartchum on May 17, 2016, 9:08 GMT

    It is Fleming who is talking rubbish. They tactlessly chose to bat after winning toss when rain interruption is expected.

  • landl47 on May 16, 2016, 22:22 GMT

    It's easy to complain about D/L, but there are only two solutions: come up with a scheme that everybody agrees is fair or scrap the game altogether. Whatever scheme is adopted, the losing side will always complain that they were robbed and if you scrap the game a large crowd is denied the entertainment it has paid to see. The right choice is obvious.

    Fleming's wrath leads him to make claims which are more and more ludicrous the more he talks. First he's talking about 25 runs off the last 14 balls, then it's a total of 135, then 135/140 and finally 150. This from a side that has taken 106 balls and 6 wickets to reach 103.

    Rain interferes with cricket on occasion and the result is usually good luck for one side and bad luck for the other. As Frank Sinatra used to sing, "That's life."

  • Pelham_Barton on May 16, 2016, 14:35 GMT

    As others have pointed out, there were not 3 overs remaining at the time the rain came, and the commentary shows that only one run was scored from the four balls that were bowled in the 18th over of Pune's innings. Therefore to get 25 in the last three overs, Pune would have to have scored 24 off 14 balls, and even if they had managed that, their total would have been 127, not 135 or 140. As Kolkata scored 66 off 5 overs, albeit knowing that their innings had been shortened, does Mr Fleming really think they could have been kept below 135 in a full 20 overs? The evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

  •   Chandran Tcp on May 16, 2016, 13:19 GMT

    Cricket or any other game is played for entertainment. Fans love watching the game. Players enjoy exhibiting their skills and trying to gain experience and aim to improve their skills. It is being said that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. In T- 20 uncertainties are more. One crucial wicket or a six or a no ball or a catch dropped or a run-out may change the result completely.D/L method tries to predict the winner by using mathematics, statistics, probability theory etc. when the match could not be played fully. We have to decide what we want, watch the play or mentally make calculation and predict the outcome and be satisfied. We played cricket for 5 days and reduced it to one day and to 20 overs each. Now still trying to reduce it further by D/L? Where is the end? There are cricketing experts who predict the winner even before a ball is bowled. God save cricket with all its controversies on pitch,toss, weather,umpiring, DRS and D/L,rules unfair to bowlers etc.

  • sam6e on May 16, 2016, 10:10 GMT

    Did either Fleming or Dhoni till now accepted gracefully that their team or effort was poor in the season compared to other teams who have done exceptionally well with limited resources...SRH for example has more or less same team maybe good in bowling compared to RPS but batting wise only warner guided single handedly to the top...Now people saying one man Dhoni cannot do anything should take a leaf out of warner's box who single handedly took the team batting responsibility

  • scooby_007 on May 16, 2016, 9:50 GMT

    I'm not a fan of DL, but 66 runs in 5 overs for 2 wickets was good. RR of around 13 an over. Can't see a slightly higher score than what RPS got would have been good enough. If KKR steadied their ship, would have most likely still made it to that score the way they looked. I guess there is a remote chance of them being bowled out. I guess Fleming is feeling the pressure of the teams abysmal performance, if he's basing his excuse on that remote chance. The game wasn't even close either.

  • himsez on May 16, 2016, 9:18 GMT

    DL Method also assumes that Mahendra Singh Dhoni at number 6 is same as any player coming at number 6. Kieron Pollard is same as Yusuf Pathan. This is not correct. Players like braithwaite cannot be compared to Morris. I am not sure it can take into consideration the due factor. The team composition where one team has more spinners on a spin friendly pitch. DL sounds bogus.

    DL method always disappoints. Its there as fleming says clearly because there is no will.

  • Cricinfouser on May 16, 2016, 7:52 GMT

    If only Fleming and dhoni had put this much effort on coaching/captaining their team properly instead of trying to come up with new excuses every time for their losses, RPS may not have been leading the points table from the bottom right now lol

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