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Duckworth-Lewis method co-creator passes away at the age of 84

Frank Duckworth, one half of the team who pioneered the Duckworth-Lewis method for calculating target scores in limited overs cricket matches abridged by bad weather, has died at the age of 84.

Along with his fellow statistician Tony Lewis, Duckworth devised the formula that was officially adopted by the International Cricket Council in 1999 and remains the means by which affected matches are decided to this day.

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) said in a statement: "Fellows will be sad to learn that Frank Duckworth passed away on 21 June 2024, at the age of 84.

"Frank will be remembered largely for his contributions to the Society as editor of RSS NEWS, and to cricket as the co-inventor of the Duckworth Lewis method."

Duckworth originally qualified in metallurgy but subsequently studied to become a statistician and introduced a short paper, 'A fair result in foul weather' at an RSS conference in Sheffield in 1992.

The paper was directly inspired by the farcical ending to the 1992 World Cup semi-final between England and South Africa in Australia, when a short spell of rain played havoc with calculations and left South Africa targeting an impossible 22 runs off one ball.

Duckworth's lecture led to contact with Lewis, and the pair worked together on a formula which was first used in the second match of England's one-day series against Zimbabwe in 1999.

The method was renamed the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method follwoing the retirement of Duckworth and Lewis, after it was slightly modified by Australian statistician Steven Stern.

A spokesperson for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said: "We are saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Duckworth MBE and send our heartfelt condolences to his family.

"While his mathematical expertise extended beyond cricket's boundaries, for our game his legacy will be long-lasting thanks to the Duckworth-Lewis Method which we were the first national body to use across our competitions in 1997."

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