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Frank Duckworth, statistician who co-invented DLS method in cricket, dies aged 82

English statisticians Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis invented the Duckworth-Lewis System (DLS) to determine the potential revised target in rain-hit cricket matches, which was implied by the ICC as a standard method in 2021.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Updated on: June 26, 2024 1:45 IST
Frank Duckworth of DLS method
Image Source : GETTY Frank Duckworth during the investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on October 5, 2010

Frank Duckworth, one of the minds behind the famous DLS method in cricket, died at the age of 82 last Friday, June 21. The English statistician famously invented the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern System with Tony Lewis in 1997 which was adapted as a standard measure to determine revised targets in the rain-hit cricket matches by the ICC in 2001. 

The DLS method was invented in the recent game in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2024 where Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by eight runs in Kingstown to reach the semifinals on Monday, June 24. The DLS method has been used on various occasions in this rain-hit World Cup in the USA and West Indies.

The Duckworth-Luis system became the Duckworth-Luis-Stern method (DLS) in 2014 after Australian statistician Steven Stern upgraded the rules.  Tony Lewis died at the age of 78 in March 2020. Both Duckworth and Lewis were appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2010.

The DLS method comes into play when the overs are lost due to weather conditions or uncalled interferences. However, setting the revised target for the team batting second remains a complicated method as it requires a few mathematical formulas and need to consider various factors. The DLS target should always be exactly as difficult as the original target.

However, on numerous occasions, teams and cricket experts have complained about the DLS system due to unfair targets. For example, during India's tour to Pakistan in 2006, the former posted a big total of 328 while batting first in the first ODI in Peshawar. Pakistan scored 311/7 in 47 overs when the game was interrupted due to a bad light. Pakistan needed 18 runs in 18 balls to win the game, but the DLS method declared them winners after the scoring rate resulted in a retrospective target score of 305, resulting in a 7-run win for the hosts on the DL method.


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