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DLS Method in Cricket Explained

Earlier in a cricket test match, there was a rest day that could be adjusted in case there was an interruption by weather or for any other reason. As a result, the match was truncated, resulting in the team batting last not having an opportunity to perform fully. The game’s administrators have labored to find the fairest way of settling rain-affected limited-over matches. When a game is interrupted by inclement weather, and one or both teams do not get their full quota of overs, as an outcome has to be reached in the time available after the resumption of play.

Any calculation is trying to adjust a target score according to the reduction in overs. Any number is an estimate: there is no one correct answer. The ICC has attempted to arrive at a formula that considers as many parameters as possible and adequately reflect the efforts of both teams.

When ODI cricket was first played, Average Run Rate (ARR) was used to calculate targets. Here, the chasing side had to match the opponent’s run rate. So, for example, if Team A scored 200 in 50 overs, at a run-rate of 4, and if Team B’s innings were reduced to 30 overs, then the total to overcome would be 120. But this method did not consider wickets lost or that it was easier to maintain a reasonable run rate over fewer overs. So if Team A made 200 in 50 overs batting first and Team B was 100 for nine in 20 overs when rain ensured no further play was possible, the latter would be declared the winner. So the ARR method was inherently biased towards the team batting second.

It’s flaws were famously highlighted during the 1992 World Cup semifinal between England and South Africa. Chasing England’s 252, South Africa was 231 for six and needed 22 off 13 balls when rain stopped play for 12 minutes. However, two overs were lost, so the two lowest-scoring overs — yielding one run in total — in the England innings were struck off. This meant that the target was reduced only by one, and South Africa had 21 runs to score off just one ball (the scoreboard incorrectly flashed 22 that day). This farcical end to the game prompted the search for a better method.

Thanks to the online gaming experience, it has become easier to play fantasy cricket online, where you can play creating your dream team and familiarize yourself with the game’s rules. At the same time, you also get the opportunity to learn about the practices as you play along.

So how did DLS come into the forefront?

Years later, a new method was devised by statistician Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, both from England, a mathematical formula to calculate the target score (the number of runs needed to win for the team batting second in a cricket match) when there was an interruption by weather or other circumstances. Later, Australian academician Steve Stern updated the formula and added his name to the method, thereby making it the DLS method. Stern became a custodian post the 2015 World Cup.

Understanding the DLS method:

The DLS method sets targets (and decides outcomes) by calculating how many runs teams should score (and would have achieved) if the resources available to both sides were equal. For example, the formula may be expressed thus: Team 2’s par score equals Team 1’s score x (Team 2’s resources/Team 1’s resources). In international cricket, the resource values (which are not publicly available) are obtained from a computer program.

Situations where DLS is applicable:

The DLS method also allows for the fact that a team batting before a rain interruption would have batted differently had it known the game would be truncated. But, of course, the weighting of wickets and overs is based on a formula. There can be no universally perfect weightage simply because the method cannot quantify individual batting abilities. It was long felt that under the D-L method, teams chasing big totals were better off keeping wickets in hand when rain was around the corner, even if it meant scoring at a lower rate. Steve Stern felt he had improved on the D-L method in this regard by adjusting the formula to reflect changing realities in high-scoring ODIs and T20 matches.

An older version of the DL method (called the D-L Standard Edition), meant to be used where computers are not available, applies pre-calculated resource values of a chart. When upward revisions are required (when the first innings are interrupted), a quantity called the G50 — the average total score in 50-over innings — is used as a reference. For matches involving all the ICC member nations, G50 is currently fixed at 245. However, the Standard Edition is not used in international cricket.

It would not be out of place to mention that an engineer from India, Mr. V. Jaydevan came up with an alternative, but ICC never adopted it. Jayadevan argued that the DLS method is significantly inconsistent, whereas his system produces better results.

As times have evolved, there have been significant changes in the rules of the game, but there are certain rules like the DLS method, which are still in use and commonly known methods in the game. With the knowledge in place, you can put it to practice if you are playing online cricket. Here you get to play with different players who can fetch you good points, helping you stay ahead on the leaderboard.

Many apps are available, and you can choose the one which offers an unparalleled online gaming experience. There are also different cricket formats that you can play and enjoy. Picking the right team and choosing the right captain and vice-captain is also crucial because you want to win with higher points at the end of the game. Online cricket games are also a great way to showcase your cricketing skills to a larger audience, and this can be one of the effective ways of merging as a pro of the game.

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