Duckworth-Lewis method co-creator Frank Duckworth says the ICC needs to examine the minimum length of innings needed to constitute a Twenty20 match. The D-L method has attracted criticism from England and West Indies following their World Twenty20 encounter last night, when England slipped to an eight-wicket defeat despite scoring 191.
Duckworth tells TWC: “You’re much more liable to get apparent distortion when you can have only five overs constituting a valid innings. The ICC ought to look into whether five overs for a valid match is appropriate because you can get this apparent distortion.”
England captain Paul Collingwood was unequivocal in his criticism of the system, which also led to England’s exit from the same competition against the same opponents in 2009. “There’s a major problem with Duckworth-Lewis in this form of the game,” Collingwood said after the game. “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.”
Yet Duckworth disagrees: “While Paul Collingwood may have been angry at Messrs Duckworth and Lewis, he might have been angry at Messrs Bresnan, Swann and co who added to the four wides that they bowled before the rain by adding four more wides. So, the West Indies target wasn’t just 60, it was effectively 52.”
“Since T20 came into the world in 2002, there have been about 70 cases of T20 with a D-L revised target or result, and there’s only been two moments of dissent, both by Paul Collingwood or ECB people both following England not doing very well against West Indies. It’s the high profile matches that attract attention. The other 68 matches – like the one that occurred earlier – Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe – nobody queried that and in fact the result went the other way. The side batting first won.”
Duckworth and his statistical partner Tony Lewis updated the system in October of last year after examining a wealth of T20 data. Duckworth says their research proved the system did not require wholesale changes for Twenty20. “As a result of that analysis we did decide that a few changes were needed but these were only slight adjustments to the parameters of the formula. The important thing that we did discover was that the scoring patterns in T20 fit in perfectly with our original formula derived largely from 50-over games.”