Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Ks continue to occupy the spotlight, and they come into today on 53.5 of a possible 75 points.
THE Ks V THE Qs
THE Ks V THE Rs
The Rs win the first four batting match ups (sorry India fans, Root has more runs, more centuries and a higher average than Kohli), though Kallis outranks Ranji and offers a bowling option. The Ks have the better all rounder, while both sides are excellently captained. The Rs have the finer keeper. Both sides have superb pace trios, the Rs possibly just the better. The Rs also have a small edge in spin bowling, with Rhodes and Robins being better balanced than the Ks two leg spinners. The Ks have a fourth seam option in Kallis, as against which the Rs have part time off spin available from Root or either Richards. In the end the sheer power of the Rs top batting, and their more varied bowling unit leads me to give them the verdict, just: Ks 2, Rs 3.
THE Ks V THE Ss
The Ss win the first four batting slots, narrowly lose the batting match up at five. Sobers beats I Khan with the bat, though the latter outranks G Smith as a captain. Kirmani wins the keeping match up, but Sangakkara as keeper gives the Ss a bonus pick – Stokes has no match up in the Ks ranks. Both sides have ace fast bowling trios, though the Ss have a small edge there in the form of Starc’s left arm. The Ss not only have Stokes as fourth seamer (he outranks Kallis the bowler), they also have the quicker version of Sobers as a fifth seam option, and a second left armed one. The Ks do have better spinners, but the Ss with Stevens leg spin, and Sobers in his slower guises cover every spin angle (left arm wrist spin is quite similar in angle to off spin). I think the Ss have this one quite comfortably, but the Ks would avoid a whitewash: Ks 1 Ss 4.
THE Ks V THE Ts
The Ts have the better opening pair, and by more than the figures suggest – Trumper played on some rough pitches and would undoubtedly average a lot more on 21st century surfaces. The Ks win the number three slot batting wise. Tendulkar wins the number four slot, Kallis the number five. Ross Taylor outbats I Khan but does not offer a bowling option. I Khan outranks Mark Taylor as a skipper. Bob Taylor wins the keeping match up. Trumble was a better spinner than either of the Ks two, and Frank Tarrant also ranks very high. The Ts pace trio is the fastest in this series, and they outrank the Ks for quality as well. The Ks of course have the Kallis factor on their side, but I do not think that is enough for them to win outright: Ks 2.5, Ts 2.5.
THE Ks V THE Us
The Ks win in all departments. It is just conceivable that Underwood and Ur Rahman would prove better than Kumble and R Khan on a turner, so I will score this as Ks 4, Us 1.
THE Ks PROGRESS
The Ks have scored 14.5 out of 25 today, putting them on 68 out of 100, 68% overall.
My usual sign off…