The ‘Duck Worth Less’ method

Tuesday, 26 January 2021



The ‘Duck Worth Less’ method

Swapnil Bharali | July 13, 2019 18:25 hrs

Is there a blame game on in the midst of the praises for Dhoni and Jadeja? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I would like to “justifiably” pin the blame for the disastrous Indian loss in the semi-finals to New Zealand at Old Trafford in the ongoing ICC World Cup on something from my perspective. And this time it is not KL Rahul!

As a student, I was familiar with the “out of syllabus” syndrome when appearing for my examinations. That made life bloody difficult. Well, if one thinks about it, the Indian team was faced with a similar syndrome when it came to its run chase under the looming rain clouds. To win before whenever the rains would come down India had to necessarily make 148 off 20 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method. That was the first target that the openers faced – a massive 7.40 runs per over on a pitch that was evidently not conducive for stroke play. Nowhere during its painful innings against some great Indian bowling was New Zealand even close to achieving this run rate. In such a lop-sided situation where the odds suddenly got stacked up against the Indians, the pressure clearly showed and the Indian team faltered and then capitulated against the very incisive New Zealand bowling.

I am not crying hoarse for the first time over a statistics-driven formula that is based on resources available to the team batting second rather than a cricket-driven one which would have justified the realities on the ground. Given the fair chance of chasing down the New Zealand total of meagre 239 in the full 50 overs, it is impossible to imagine that India would have failed. But when the concentration of the batsmen veers away from the ball speeding so accurately down on you towards the rain clouds and the truncated initial target, I would term this as unfair by all respects. 

The way South Africa was “cheated” out of its probable semi-final victory in the 1992 World Cup when rain interrupted play before the last ball of the 43rd over is still fresh in memories. South Africa had then required 22 runs off 13 balls for victory. DLS thereafter revised the target to 21 runs from only 1 ball because 2 overs were lost due to rain!

Guess it’s time to chuck this worthless method!

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