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Tony Lewis, co-inventor of the Duckworth-Lewis method, passes away at 78
Tony Lewis 1942-2020

Tony Lewis, co-inventor of the Duckworth-Lewis method, passes away at 78

Tony Lewis, one of the mathematicians responsible for devising the Duckworth-Lewis method used in rain-curtailed limited-overs fixtures, has died aged 78.

"It is with much sadness that the ECB has learned of the passing of Tony Lewis MBE, aged 78," the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

"Tony, alongside fellow mathematician Frank Duckworth, devised the Duckworth-Lewis method which was introduced in 1997 and adopted officially by the ICC (International Cricket Council) in 1999.

"Renamed the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method in 2014, the mathematical formula continues to be used in rain reduced limited overs cricket games across the globe."

A university lecturer by profession, Lewis was bestowed with the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to cricket and mathematics in 2010.

"Cricket is deeply indebted to both Tony and Frank's contributions to the sport," the ECB added.

"We send our sincere condolences to Tony's family."

The formula was developed after the farcical finish in the 1992 World Cup semi-final due to the earlier rain rule in place resulting in South Africa's exit from the tournament under controversial circumstances.

South Africa were given the task of scoring 21 runs from one delivery following a rain delay when they required 22 runs off 13 balls to beat England.

Duckworth later talked about the motivation that drove him to invent a formula that fairly assessed the position of both sides in a contest.

"I recall hearing (commentator) Christopher Martin-Jenkins on radio saying 'surely someone, somewhere could come up with something better' and I soon realised that it was a mathematical problem that required a mathematical solution," he stated.

Despite the formula doing wonders to the sport, it has attracted enduring criticism regarding the complicated system it uses to calculate revised targets.

Subsequently, the Duckworth-Lewis method has been subjected to differing opinions with the advent of T20 cricket where wickets lost are not considered significant resources and scoring rate takes precedence.

In 2014, Queensland mathematician Steven Stern lent his name to the method by adding modifications to the existent rule by including modern-day scoring rates. The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method was formally adopted by the ICC during the 2015 World Cup.