Confusion rains

Last night I called it a disgraceful end to good game. “Disgraceful” was probably a bit harsh, “terribly confusing” probably would have been better.

Regardless of how the result came about, the Scorchers didn’t deserve a no-result against the Stars last night. Perhaps you could argue that they might have pulled off a similar bowling display, but you’d have to think that was very unlikely at best. The worst part about the kerfuffle at the end of the game is that it took the focus off Malinga’s ridiculous 6 for 7 that destroyed the Scorchers.

But, alas, the way the result came about confused people, it angered people. Many cricketer’s understandably expressed their confusion on twitter, one particular ex-cricketer went on a bit of tirade on twitter that lasted nearly two hours. I too was confused, but as things were explained it made more sense, I’ve tried to sum-up and simplify it. (If there are any actual errors in my explanation please let me know.)

Here’s how it went

The Scorchers were bowled out for 69.

When the Stars started their chase, which was before the rain intervened, they needed 70 off their full 20 overs.

When rain initially stopped play, after 2 overs, the Stars were 0/23. At this point the number of overs hadn’t been reduced so they were still chasing 70.

Once the rain eventually disappeared, and the Stars’ innings was reduced to a total of 5 overs, a Duckworth-Lewis target total was set.

The reduced target required off the 5 overs was just 6. Thus meaning that the Stars’ had already made the runs they required for victory, and as such were declared winners. This is where people, understandably, started getting confused.

Yes, wickets matter in D/L, but not in this case

The number of wickets that the Stars’ had lost (none), nor the number they might have lost in the remaining 3 overs are completely irrelevant because they had already passed the 6 run total that was calculated.

Maybe look at it this way. Had the rain interrupted the game before the Stars’ innings began, and the game had still been reduced to 5 overs, the Stars would still have only required 6 runs.

Points of confusion

There seem to be two main points of confusion. First is the whole “five overs need to constitute a match” thing, but that’s easy to explain. Under D/L, the Stars’ would have been retired to chase a total of 6, they managed to do that within their allocated 5 overs, so they win. Simple.

Another way to look at it, in the context of a non-rain-affected match would be. Team A scores 200 off their full 50 overs, Team B then bats and reaches the required total of 201 in 35 overs. Team B doesn’t have to keep batting to fill their 50 overs, everyone understands this. What happened last night is no different.

Secondly, and I tend to agree with the confusion around this one, is why did they have to go back out and bowl that single delivery. Assuming the rest of my understanding explained above is correct, then they had already passed the required D/L total. So why the extra ball? I’ve seen a few people try and explain this one but I’m yet to see an explanation that truly made sense.

Update: I just had a question via twitter about the restart times at the end of the game. The original explanation was that if play hadn’t started by 7:43pm local time then the game would be called off, yet play apparently restarted (for that single ball) at 7:52pm. The only explanation I have for this is that – based on what I saw on the telecast – is that the Umpires and Stars were all out on the field at 7:43pm, but there was a delay while the Scorchers questioned whether the ground was in a suitable condition for play to restart. This delay resulted in the actual restart time being 7:52pm. Of course, I could be wrong, I wasn’t there.

In the end.

We got the right result, few would disagree – apart from the Scorchers’ who though for a while that they would escape with a no-result. The Scorchers seemed very disinterested in returning to the field to ‘complete’ the game, but you can’t say that the Stars would have done anything differently had the situation been reversed.

What it did highlight is that the Duckworth/Lewis method is incredibly confusing for most, and it regularly proves to be an unsuitable way of deciding results. The fact that even the commentators, all ex-cricketer’s themselves, couldn’t understand/explain what was going on was also telling, and it certainly didn’t help.