I am continuing my analysis of how my all-time XIs for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. The Bs XI are currently in the hot seat, and come into today on 19.5 points out of a possible 30.
THE Bs V THE Hs
The Bs are ahead on batting, with only Hussey of the top five out batting his counterpart from the the Bs XI, but Hendren and Healy are both better with the bat than their opposite numbers. Healy wins the clash of the keepers. While Hadlee and Holding are close to Barnes and Bumrah as a prospective new ball pairing, Botham has to be preferred as third seamer to Hammond. Bates and Benaud are at least the equal as spinners of Harmer and Herath. I score this one Bs 3.5, Hs 1.5.
THE Bs V THE Is
This is a monster mismatch – only Imtiaz Ahmed with the bat beats his opposite number. Shoriful Islam and Anthony Ireland are hopelessly outclassed as a new ball pairing by Barnes and Bumrah, while Illingworth loses to fellow Yorkie Bates in the off spinning all rounders clash – adjusting their figures for improved pitches by the time Illingworth was playing, Bates is equivalent to an Illingworth era or later player averaging 40 with the bat and 25 with the ball, so he comfortably beats Illingworth in both departments. Ironmonger beats Benaud as a bowler, though he was of zero value with the bat. Quite simply there are no circumstances in which the Is can be envisaged troubling the Bs and I score this Bs 5, Is 0.
THE Bs V THE Js
This looks like a mismatch but 1) The Js have an extra front line bowling option compared to the Bs, 2)A Jones is a much better bat than the figures from her few test appearances suggest and is a superb keeper, 3) Jessop was the ultimayte x-factor player. Johnston, S Jones, Johnson and Jessop give the Js a clear edge in the seam bowling department, Jupp is good match for Bates, and though Benaud beats Jayasuriya with the ball, the Sri Lankan is well clear with the bat. The Bs advantage with the bat will probably tell in their favour, but this is much closer than it appears it first sight and I score it Bs 3, Js 2.
THE Bs V THE Ks
The Bs have their usual advantage in the top batting slots, with only Kallis beating his opposite number in that department. However, Khan wins the battle of the all rounders, Kirmani rates above Bari with both bat and gloves. King, Kortright and Khan represent a fearsome pace trio, with Kallis a decidedly useful fourth seamer. Although them both being leg spinners is less than ideal there is enough of a contrast in bowling styles between R Khan and Kumble to mitigate that, and they are a good match for Bates and Benaud. Here I think the Ks bowling depth will swing it for them: Bs 2, Ks 3.
THE Bs V THE Ls
Once again the Bs dominate the top batting positions, but Langridge wins the battle of the allrounders, Langley and Bari are level pegging. In bowling Lindwall, Lillee and Lohmann outpoint Barnes, Bumrah and Botham – even if you rate Barnes and Bumrah one and two in the pacers department, Lillee, the third best of the Ls on statistics is far clear of Botham as a bowler. Laker and Langridge are about level with Bates and Benaud. I do not see the Bs batting advantage saving them here, and I score a close contest as Bs 2, Ls 3.
THE Bs PROGRESS UPDATE
The Bs have scored 15.5 out of 25 in these five match ups and are therefore up to 35 points out of 55, a score of 63.63%. The As were on 28 at this same stage of their progress.
My usual sign off…