What is Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method in cricket?



  • GS Mains special
  • GS Mains paper III, Sci-tech


  • Rain has played spoilsport at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) cricket World Cup 2019, washing out a number of matches, including India’s clash with New Zealand.
  • Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method could come to the rescue of the game in this unpredictable weather.
  • The D/L (S was added later – read below) method was first used in international cricket on 1 January 1997

What is the DLS?

  • The Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS) is a mathematical formulation designed to calculate the target score for the team batting second in a limited overs cricket match interrupted by weather or other circumstances.
  • Devised by English statisticians Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis and originally named after them, it was first used in 1997.
  • Australian academic Steve Stern updated the formula, becoming its custodian ahead of the 2015 World Cup; his name was added to the title.

Why is it needed?

  • When a match is interrupted by inclement weather, and one or both teams do not get their full quota of overs, an outcome has to be reached in the time available after resumption of play.
  • What any calculation is doing is trying to adjust a target score according to the reduction in overs.
  • Any number is an estimate: there is no one right answer.
  • ICC has tried to do is arrive at a formula that takes into account as many parameters as possible and properly reflects the efforts of both teams.
  • The DLS method, which has been updated a few times, is generally considered the most accurate system used in international cricket.

Why were older methods discarded?

  • When ODI cricket was first played, Average Run Rate (ARR) was used to calculate targets.
  • The old method didn’t take into consideration – the wickets lost, the fact that it is easier to maintain a good run rate in fewer overs etc.
  • Only Average Run rate was taken into consideration.


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