2 Apr 2020

Duckworth-Lewis inventor dies

11:57 pm on 2 April 2020

Tony Lewis, the English mathematician and statistician who co-devised what became known as the Duckworth-Lewis method for settling weather-affected limited-overs matches, has died at the age of 78.

Rain at the cricket.

Rain at the cricket Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Lewis and fellow academic Frank Duckworth came together to produce a fairer method of settling such games than the controversial system which had been used at the 1992 World Cup.

Their new system was first used in 1997 for a Zimbabwe v England game, and officially adopted by the International Cricket Council in 1999.

Duckworth-Lewis calculates targets based on the batting team's remaining resources - wickets in hand, and overs in hand - via mathematical formulae.

In 2014, Australian professor Steven Stern became the custodian of the system, on the retirements of Duckworth and Lewis, and it is now known as the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.

Born in Bolton, Lewis was a lecturer at the University of the West of England when he and Duckworth came together after South Africa's target in the 1992 World Cup semi-final against England was comically reduced from 22 runs off 13 balls to 22 runs off one ball.

Duckworth explained in 2007: "I recall hearing Christopher Martin-Jenkins on radio saying 'surely someone, somewhere, could come up with something better' and I realised that it was a mathematical problem that required a mathematical solution."

Lewis and Duckworth were appointed MBEs in 2010.