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. This, the antepenultimate post in the analysis stage of this series features those match ups in which the Us are alphabetically first. The Us come into today with 22.5 out of 100 points.
THE Us V THE Vs
The Us have the better opening pair, although there is not much in it. The Vs win the number three slot, with the Us ahead on batting at 4,5,6 and 7, although Verreynne wins the keeping match up against Umar Akmal and Vaas is a genuine top line bowler. The Vs also have genuinely useful lower order batters at eight and nine. The bowling goes meltingly in the Vs favour – Umran Malik being entirely unproven has to be ranked below any of the Vs seam/ pace options, Umar Gul is provably less good than any, and Ulyett’s bowling is less impressive than it looks given that he played in test cricket’s early days – the uprating of his batting due to the surfaces he played on has to be counterbalanced by a downrating of his bowling. Verity outranks Underwood in my view, Vogler has to be rated ahead of the unproven Ur Rahman, and Vine is a better third spin option than Umrigar. The Us do have a stronger batting line up, but the Vs are so massively superior on bowling and keeping as to absolutely discount that. I feel that there is just a tiny chance of the Us batting saving them: Us 0.5, Vs 4.5.
THE Us V THE Ws
The Ws are utterly dominant in all departments – the nearest any of the Us comes to competing with their opposite number is Underwood v Wardle. Only one scoreline is conceivable here: Us 0, Ws 5.
THE Us V THE Xs
Save for DeXter at number three winning over Imam Ul Haq, the Us have the better batting and the better captain, though the Xs have the better keeper. The Us win on pace/ seam bowling, and are probably just second best on spin bowling. I expect the Us to win this one quite comfortably: Us 4, Xs 1.
THE Us V THE Ys
The Us have the better opening pair (Ulyett in the 21st century would probably average 36 with the bat and 30 with the ball or thereabouts). The Ys win at three four, with the Us winning batting match ups at 5,6 and 7. However, Yardley offers more the ball than Umrigar and S Yousuf ranks far higher as a keeper than Umar Akmal. The Ys have the better seam/ pace attack, while the spin bowling honours are split – I rate Underwood ahead of J Young, but P Yadav ahead of Ur Rahman. I think the Ys bowling and keeping advantages are sufficient for them to win this quite comfortably: Us 1, Ys 4.
THE Us V THE Zs
The Zs have the better opening partnership, and also win at number three. The match ups at 4,5,6 and 7 all go the way of the Us, though Zulqarnain Haider wins the keeping match up over Umar Akmal. The Us have a numerical advantage in the seam/ pace department, though only Ulyett provably outranks one of the Zs – even adjusting to allow for the more favourable conditions in which he bowled, Ulyett comes out ahead of Zaheer Khan (though behind Zondeki on this metric). Umar Gul is the least impressive seam/ pace bowler in either XI, and Umran Malik is a bonus option for the Us. Also, on proven record Underwood comfortably outranks Zia Ur Rehman, while Ur Rahman outranks Zahir Khan. I think the Us have this one quite comfortably: Us 4, Zs 1.
THE Us FINAL SCORE
The Us have scored 9.5 of a possible 25 points today, moving on to 32 out 125, 25.6% overall.
My usual sign off…