Balls 'n Strikes finds themselves 6th in the standings, and they are consistent in creating confusion among the league. Yes, they have a full roster, and they bring more than 4 guys a week usually. But their substitutions have been widely questioned by many in the league, and have cost them a number of points, and is the main reason why they are in 6th. While they cannot bench Shumail to get him enough games for the playoffs, they have at times benched Wahid, and Hakim, to less than desirable results. At their best, they have given Strikes 'n Spares a run for their money. At their worst, they have been blown out of the water by nearly every team. It's admirable they put spreading out playing time first. But when will it be time to play to win?
Bowler #1: Nisar vs. Abdul/Ali
Nisar has proven time and again to be clutch. He proved it again just last week, when he struck in his first shot of a bowl-off to win a match-up point. He's won 11.5 match-up points, which is roughly half of his match-ups
Abdul and Ali both will have a handicap advantage on Nisar, and have shown they can bowl well at times. But both are inconsistent, with Ali showing some promise as be begins to control his hook. Both Adbul and Ali have won half their match-up points as well, so they use their handicap to their benefit at times.
Advantage: Strike Kings - Nisar is more consistent and have proven he can get the job done more often. Ali and Abdul better hope they can make a huge lead on Nisar early, because if Nisar will close if its a close match-up.
Bowler #2: Ammad/Raheel vs. Alisher/Hakim
Ammad and Raheel both throw hooks and have improved their games as the season has progressed. They seem not to feel much pressure with the 1-2 punch of Eddie and Don right behind them. That being said, their inconsistencies have cost them some match-up points.
Alisher and Hakim have different styles. Alisher is one of the few lefties we have in the league, and he throws a straight ball with some speed. So he will be unaffected by lane conditions. Hakim is learning his hook, and has produced mixed results. He can't be too off if he hopes to help Balls 'n Strikes win a few extra points.
Advantage: Balls 'n Strikes - Alisher and Hakim have been coming more consistently, while Raheel and Ammad will both be somewhat rusty. These match-ups will produce scores all over the place, but expect Balls 'n Strikes to come out on top.
Bowler #3: Eddie vs. Shumail/Hakim
Eddie throws the league's nastiest hook. When he's on, he's just as good as any anchor in the league. But because of his massive hook, the lane conditions can play a role. Last week, the conditions were not optimal for Eddie and he bowled his worst series of the season. It will be up to Eddie to make his adjustments, because he will not be going against a blind his week.
If Shumail qualified he would be #4 in average in the league. He's been more impressive than last year even, by coming into series late, and still bowling extremely well. When he's there, Balls 'n Strikes is a different team. His presence alone could determine the entire series (depending on how the subbing goes).
Advantage: Even with Shumail, Strike Kings otherwise - Eddie vs. Shumail is a toss-up. Eddie against anyone else will be no contest.
Bowler #4: Don vs. Wahid
Don has taken over the anchor position and does what he does best; throws 200's with ease. With the Pin Smackers not too far behind, Don will attempt to carry the team on his back and give them breathing room over the next couple of weeks. The bad news for Balls 'n Strikes is that he had an off week last week - so expect him to be extra motivated to get his A game going again this week.
Wahid, after a slow start, has lived up to expectations of being a top bowler in the league. He's done a great job carrying the team and taking on the league's best. Wahid throws with power and has had a number of monster games this season. But he's going up against one of the league's best, most consistent bowlers. He needs 3 huge games in order to win points.
Advantage: Strike Kings - Would you bet against Don having 2 bad weeks in a row? I didn't think so.
Prediction: This series will be based on 3 things: How the lane conditions affect Don and Eddie; will Shumail show, and will Balls 'n Strikes sub to win, or sub to sub. I expect Eddie and Don to recover from last week, while the questions regarding Balls 'n Strikes are unknown.
Strike Kings take 2 out of 3 games, and win 14 points.