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May 3, 2010
Paul Collingwood was left fuming at the Duckworth-Lewis system as it played a huge role in England's defeat against West Indies for the second World Twenty20 running and left them facing a must-win match against Ireland. After piling up an imposing 191 for 5 England were in the driving seat but rain intervened after 2.2 overs of the chase and when play resumed, virtually as late as it could before the game was abandoned, the hosts were left needing 60 from six overs with all 10 wickets in hands.
"There's a major problem with Duckworth-Lewis in this form of the game," Collingwood said. "I've got no problem with it in one-dayers, and I know it's made me very frustrated tonight because I've come off the losing captain, but it's certainly got to be revised in this form.
"Ninety-five percent of the time when you get 191 runs on the board you are going to win the game. Unfortunately Duckworth-Lewis seems to have other ideas and brings the equation completely the other way and makes it very difficult."
Just to rub it in for Collingwood, five minutes after the game ended torrential rain started. There was always a risk that weather would play its part in Guyana and both games on Monday were affected with Sri Lanka also winning under the D-L system. It was a lack of intent that cost Zimbabwe - although it is believed they didn't have a copy of the D-L chart when their revised chase began. For England it was an early blitz by Chris Gayle which proved costly, because the 30 runs that came before the rain meant the calculations would always be in favour of West Indies.
It won't make Collingwood feel much better as he stews over the result, but Gayle agreed with his assessment of the system. "I think it's something they're going to have to look into," he said. "I would support what Collingwood just said. I could have been in the same position as well. It's something that can be addressed so it can be even stevens for both teams in the future. I'm happy but it's just unfortunate for England."
What made it worse for Collingwood, though, was that it was the second time in nine months England had come out on the wrong end of the calculations against the same team. At The Oval, during last year's World Twenty20, a rain break left West Indies chasing 82 from eight overs and they achieved the target, despite a flurry of wickets, to send England packing.
"I'm trying to take the emotion out of that defeat to be honest with you," he said. "It's the second time it's happened to us against West Indies so it's very frustrating for the boys because we've played a near-perfect game and still lost."
The one slight difference this time was that West Indies had managed to start their chase - whereas at The Oval the entire pursuit came after the heavens opened - and they benefited from judging the conditions. Gayle said at the toss that he was bowling first because Ramnaresh Sarwan, a Guyanese, knew rain would be a factor. There's nothing like a bit of local knowledge coupled with the luck of the toss.
"We knew that the weather was going to play a part so the first five overs, obviously, can determine the game," Gayle said. "So we decided to go out and see what we could get out of the first five overs. The target was actually 43, I think, at one stage and the adaption went in our favour. After the rain we knew we were most likely to win the game from there on."
But that doesn't escape the fact that the D-L system needs some serious adjusting for Twenty20 cricket. It goes through periodical updates based on matches played, but the problem is that the sample size of Twenty20 internationals remains quite small. Scoring at ten-an-over, which was West Indies' aim, is far from challenging for six overs when it is often a rate maintained over the full 20.
"I think that's what the equation is built around in the one-day format. Unfortunately there's probably not enough games," Collingwood said. "I'm not a mathematician, I don't really know what the equation should be, but your backs are certainly against the wall when it's like that."
The unsatisfactory end to the match took the gloss off an outstanding batting display for England, who produced one of their most complete Twenty20 performances. They have been looking for players who can throw the bat, but Luke Wright took that to the extreme when he lost his grip and the willow flew towards square leg. The team effort included an England-record 11 sixes, on a pitch previously not easy for scoring, as their pre-match routine of launching balls into the stands from the centre clearly paid off.
It was started by the pair of debutants, Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter, and finished off spectacularly by Wright and Eoin Morgan, who gave another display of his breathtaking skills as 76 came from the last five overs. It showed England should have far too much firepower for Ireland.
"What we've spoken about in the dressing room, what we've picked guys for, they did exactly that today," Collingwood said. "For the two guys to make their debut and show the confidence they did, it put the opposition under a lot of pressure and I thought all the guys played it pretty perfectly. There was a lot of power there."
England's batting performance showcased Twenty20 at its fast-paced best, but what followed showed that some of the regulations and calculations have been left playing catch-up.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa