WC 2003 - South Africa lost because of its own mistakes: Duckworth

Published: Friday, March 7, 2003, 0:30 [IST]
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New Delhi: South Africa has itself to blame rather than the Duckworth-Lewis method for its early exit from the World Cup, said the man who developed the system to decide rain-affected matches."People are always going to be unhappy if they lose," Frank Duckworth said in The Indian Express on Thursday following criticism of the current rain rule he devised along with fellow-mathematician Tony Lewis."South Africa lost because of its own mistakes," said Duckworth, currently with the Royal Society of Statisticians. "Both Shaun Pollock and Sanath Jayasuriya had the same papers with the run-rates. Sanath read it right and Shaun didn't," he said. "As far as we are concerned, the rules were agreed upon by all countries before the Cup and no-one has complained yet."Pollock's South Africans were eliminated from the tournament when their final Group B match against Sri Lanka ended in a tie after rain stopped play with five overs remaining at Kingsmead on Monday.The host, needing a win to reach the Super Sixes, was 229 for six after 45 overs in reply to Sri Lanka's 268 for nine when rain drove the players off the field.According to the Duckworth-Lewis method, the "par" score was 229, which meant the honours and the points were shared. Sri Lanka topped the group with 18 points to qualify for the next round along with Kenya (16) and New Zealand (16). South Africa finished fourth with 14 points and bowed out of the competition.The top three teams were to qualify for Super Sixes from the group. South Africa would have won the crucial match and qualified had it scored one more run.Batsman Mark Boucher, apparently under the impression that the target was 229 and not 230, blocked what turned out to be the last ball of the rain-hit match.South Africa had reasons to curse the weather gods in 1992 when it was asked to score an impossible 22 to win off one ball in the rain-hit World Cup semi-final against England in Australia."What the 1992 semi-final did was highlight the fact that a logical and mathematical approach was needed to solve the problem. The prevalent Australian rule was not thought through as much as it should have been," said Duckworth.He also said he was now working on a new system along with Lewis to "avoid a ludicrous and unfair situation". "Bizarre situations can still happen. They could happen under any rule," he said."That's why we are working at an alternative method. Not necessarily a better method, but an alternative method that will focus on probability of victory rather than the margin of victory based on resources in hand."We are trying to reach a situation where we can ascertain the probability of victory of both the teams, and set a revised target accordingly."Copyright AFP 2001

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