Published On: Sat, Apr 7th, 2018

Twenty20 Cricket and the Duckworth Lewis Method

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The mathematical calculation devised to set the target score for the team batting second in an interrupted cricket match causes controversy in T20 games.

The Duckworth Lewis method, or the D/L Method, as it is commonly referred to in cricket, came about when the cricket authorities decided that calling a One Day International cricket match a ‘draw’ when the second innings could not be completed, for any reason, was not acceptable.

The main reason that a cricket match had to be shortened from a 50-overs a side game to a lesser number of overs per side or, if the first innings had already been completed, then having a revised target for the second innings, was the weather.

Methods Used to Declare a Winner in a Cricket Match

Since declaring a draw appeared unacceptable, various other criteria were used to declare one team the winner of a match. These included:

Using the overall run rates of the two teams.
The tally of the best-scoring overs of the teams.
Comparison of how many runs each team had scored at the point when the second innings was stopped.

However, none of the criteria used were completely satisfactory.

Duckworth Lewis Method and Adoption

Messrs. Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis came up with a mathematical calculation to set a target for the team batting second when the first innings had already been completed. The calculation took into account:

Twenty20 Cricket and the Duckworth Lewis Method

-The number of overs allocated
-Overs played
-Runs scored
-Wickets lost
-Overs remaining

The D/L Method was first used in a match between England and Zimbabwe in the 1996/97 season and was formally adopted by the International Cricket Council in 1999.

The original calculation was suitable for first innings scores of up to 235 runs and was revised in 2004 for scores greater than 235 runs.

The method was not foolproof as at the 1992 World Cup, South Africa went from needing 22 runs from 13 balls in their semi-final against England, to an impossible 21 runs from one ball. However, in the main the calculations appeared to work and was continued to be used in 50-overs a side matches.

The D/L Method and Twenty20 Cricket

With the advent of the shorter form of the game, T20 Cricket, the D/L method was used to set a target for the second innings. However, there are fresh controversies with the use of the D/L Method to decide on the outcome of games.

During the 2010 ICC World T20, the D/L method was used in the group stage match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka scored 173/7 in 20 overs batting first and Zimbabwe were 29/1 in 5 overs when rain interrupted play. Sri Lanka won the match by 14 runs according to the D/L method.

Another group match between England and West Indies was also decided by the D/L method. England scored 191/5 in 20 overs, and rain interrupted play after 2.2 overs of the chase when West Indies had scored 30/0. According to the D/L method, West Indies were set a target of 60 runs in 6 overs, which they achieved with a ball to spare.

Therefore, questions are being raised as to whether the D/L method, which is a calculation devised to be used for a game played over 50-overs a side, is suitable for the shorter form of the game which is only 20-overs a side.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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