Frank Duckworth, co-inventor of cricket's DLS method, passes away at 84

The Duckworth-Lewis method, co-devised by English statisticians Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, emerged as a solution to one of cricket’s long standing challenges: setting fair targets in rain-interrupted matches.
Frank Duckworth
Frank DuckworthRob Eastaway
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Frank Duckworth, one of the pioneering minds behind the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, passed away at the age of 84. Duckworth’s contribution to the game has left an indelible mark, revolutionising how rain-affected matches are determined. Duckworth passed away on June 21 in England.

The Duckworth-Lewis method, co-devised by English statisticians Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, emerged as a solution to one of cricket’s long standing challenges: setting fair targets in rain-interrupted matches.

First implemented in international cricket in 1997, the method was officially adopted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001, becoming the standard for adjusting targets in truncated games.

The method gained further refinement in 2014, when Australian statistician Steven Stern introduced modifications to the system, leading to its current iteration, the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method. This update honoured the original creators while integrating new insights to enhance its accuracy and applicability in modern cricket.

Duckworth-Lewis' innovation replaced the much-criticised rain rule previously used, which famously marred the 1992 ODI World Cup semifinal between South Africa and England in Sydney. In that match, a sudden downpour and the subsequent application of the rain rule led to a farcical situation where South Africa needed an impossible 22 runs off one ball, highlighting the urgent need for a more equitable solution.

Their breakthrough was recognised not just within cricketing circles but also by the wider community. In June 2010, both Duckworth and Lewis were awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for their services to cricket and mathematics, a testament to the significant impact of their work.

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