Would they need the match or would they not? © Getty Images
Would they need the match or would they not? © Getty Images

Note: The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) Method will be mentioned several times throughout the article. Only the theory needs to be considered for the purpose of the article. The scores mentioned are random, but are good enough for the purpose of the article.

Let us consider a limited-overs match. Team A, batting first, score 240 in 50 overs. Team B begins the chase in breakneck fashion (perhaps they have Sanath Jayasuriya and Jason Roy at the top). They race to 120 in 10 overs before rain plays spoilsport.

Thankfully, rain stops. After a close look at conditions, umpires announce that only 10 more overs of cricket will be possible.

Familiar? Obviously.

But the story does not end here. The people in charge have already brought out those fantastic charts and calculated par scores according to the DLS Method. The target for a 20-over chase reads, say, 110.

This brings us to a curious situation. Remember, B have already scored 120, which is more than the par score after 20 overs.

How much would B need to win once they come out to bat? Do they have to score -10 (minus 10) to win the match? Remember, they have scored 10 more than the scheduled target after 20 overs? Surely not?

Have B already won the match? If not, do they have to come out to score anything? If yes, how many?

A real-life situation

Thankfully, we do know the answer to this, due to a match played in BBL 2012-13. Perth Scorchers were shot out for 55 (Lasith Malinga took 6 for 7). Rob Quiney and Luke Wright came out all guns blazing, and Melbourne Stars reached 29 without loss after 2 overs.

Then it rained, and they decided on a 5-over match. The Duckworth-Lewis method (Stern was yet to come into the picture) calculated the 2-over par score at 6 (no typo there). The 5-over target was 20.

Match referee Ric Evans finally announced that there should be one ball of play. Once that ball was delivered, Stars would be announced winner. Hilton Cartwright bowled it and Quiney let it go to Tom Triffitt. The Stars were declared winner.

But the authorities were still not happy, for there were exactly two options:

1. The Stars had already won the match before play resumed. If that was the case, why was the ball bowled?

2. The Stars had not yet won when play resumed. If that was the case, and it rained again, would the match have been abandoned and the points shared?

After much deliberation, the BBL organising committee came to a conclusion. They announced that the Stars had won the moment the ground was declared fit for resumption. The redundant delivery was erased from all databases.

Here is what the CricketArchive match report said: “After the rain delay the umpires deemed that the conditions were fit for a resumption of play to allow for the minimum duration for a definite result of five overs for the second innings. The revised target was 20 in 5 overs and because Melbourne Stars had already passed that score the match was over but the match referee incorrectly sent the players out to face one more ball (a dot ball bowled by Cartwright to Quiney). Cricket Australia later admitted the error and the extra ball was expunged as it affected the net run rate.”

In conclusion, it will not be an exaggeration to say that Melbourne Stars won the match from the pavilion.