Stephen Fleming, the coach of Rising Pune Supergiant, has said that the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system to set targets in rain-affected games is not the ideal for the Twenty20 format. He felt it was time to introduce ‘wicket pressure’ into the equation, that is, not have all 10 wickets available for a chasing team when the overs were shortened. His observation came after Kolkata Knight Riders were set a target of 48 in six in the Eliminator of the Indian Premier League 2017 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
“I have said this before and been criticised for it, but the Duckworth-Lewis method just isn’t suited for a Twenty20 game,” Fleming wrote in his column for Times of India on Friday (May 19). “The DL method is satisfactory for 100 overs, but in a 40-over game, it simply favours the team batting second too much.”
After Kolkata restricted Hyderabad to 128 for 7, they had to wait for over three hours for the rain to stop and game to resume. They lost three wickets in their chase, but reached the target comfortably with four balls to spare. Considering that they had ten wickets in hand, Kolkata would have known that they were always favoured to script a successful chase.
“In a situation like Wednesday night, even though there’s been a small increase in runs required and there’s pressure on the team batting second owing to a reduction in the number of overs, they still have all wickets in hand which means they can play without risk,” continued Fleming. “Even losing three wickets in approximately one over doesn’t really hamper them; they know they can just keep going because they have plenty of batting resources to fall back on. The whole scenario just isn’t ideal and definitely needs a bit of tweaking.”
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When the games go into the Super Over, each team can lose only two wickets. In this IPL, Mumbai Indians lost two wickets against Gujarat Lions in five balls, failing to play out the full over.
“One of the ideas floating around is to introduce ‘wicket pressure’, so if you have a small chase, then you also have fewer wickets to play with,” added Fleming, who has been involved with IPL for ten seasons now. “In effect, that means you only have five wickets, for example, for a six-over chase. With low-scoring games on difficult pitches, whenever the overs are reduced, the team batting second will always have an edge because they stand a far lower chance of being bowled out, so they can stay a lot more relaxed.”