Duckworth Lewis. Wins.

In an earlier, ahem, somewhat long (but now updated and completed) post I described an experiment to test the Duckworth-Lewis Method against the Best Scoring Overs (BSO) and Best Scoring Sequence (BSEQ) methods, using the domestic one-day competition as a test tube.

Hey – I wasn’t the only one watching the series who was looking for alternative ways to pass the time…

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Duckworth-Lewis vs Best-Scoring overs method – who ya got?

In an earlier post I promised to monitor domestic and international one-day matches this summer, and hypothetically compare the Duckworth Lewis (DL) method to the old best-scoring overs (BSO) method. From the 20th over onwards in the second innings, each method will predict a winner by providing a target score, as if the match was suddenly rained out. So there will be a prediction after over 20, 21, 22… all the way up to 49; 30 predictions in total if the match goes that distance (no points awarded for predicting the winner after over 50).

[Update as of 3/11/2013 – I’ve made the executive decision to add the highest-scoring consecutive overs method to this.]

In the first match Tasmania spoiled the experiment by not lasting until over 40 – but all methods correctly chose the winner correctly 15 times, until the match ended at the end of over 35.


You’ll notice that the BSO line is pretty smooth, but the DL is jagged – that’s because the target changes markedly each time the chasing team loses a wicket. (In this match, Tasmania were kind enough to demonstrate this frequently.)

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Oh Duckworth-Lewis, you loveable rogue – why are you treated like the creepy cardiologist uncle of the stats family?

Duckworth and Lewis don’t get a lot of love for their invention, a fact which seems to point to a collectively short memory for cricket fans. Without DL’s clever method for resolving rain-interrupted (or abandoned) matches, we had to put up with a steady stream of one-day international controversies, including the the 1992 world cup semi final (full video horror from the 20 minute mark here). The results were – to describe them just one way – weird, disappointing and counter intuitive. (Another way is, they were bullshit.)

And yet, whenever rain falls or darkness moves in, officials have a heart attack and have to turn to the creepy uncle to fix it all and prevent yet another controversy (or, at least, prevent a statistically indefensible one). Continue reading