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Week 4 Games Recap

Istanbul vs Medina:

Game one of week 4 featured a rematch of a week 2 thriller that saw Istanbul shock Medina in a 22-21 offensive outburst. However, Istanbul looked to bounce back after a lopsided loss to Cairo in week 3. Meanwhile, Medina was looking to pick up their second win of the season.

The game started out as a close affair, with both teams scoring four runs in the first inning. The following two innings went scoreless for both teams before Istanbul cashed in five runs at the top of the fourth inning, only to be answered by two Medina runs in the bottom of the frame. Going into the bottom of the 6th inning, Istanbul held a 9-6 lead. Medina was poised for a comeback, as they scored four runs in the bottom half to take a 10-9 lead. That’s where the Medina rally caps would come off though as Istanbul popped in a quick two runs in the 7th inning that Medina was unable to answer on, giving Istanbul another close win with a final score of 11-10.

Istanbul’s bats were fired up again after a quiet week 3, with Hamid Malik bringing in four RBIs on his own. Meanwhile, Riyad Ramjaun had an efficient game going 2/3 with a double, a walk and a sacrifice. On the pitching end, he slowed down on the strikeout front K-ing only two while walking five. Baseer Yasseen continued his hot play going 3/4, but no extra base hits. Speaking of which, Istanbul remarkably was able to pull off this win with only two extra base hits all game. Zain Malik had an off game, batting just 1/4 but picking up a walk along the way. After the game, Zain was seen getting his shoulder assessed by league medical personnel. There’s no word yet if Zain will miss any action due to his injury, but the competitor that he is - its unlikely. 

For Medina, Ismail Akhter was back to his usual ways crushing two home runs on route to bringing in half of the teams total RBIs. Ismail now has 3 home runs on the season to go along with 12 RBIs. Umair Wasim also went yard and cashed home four RBIs of his own. Hassan Chaudhry and Ahmad Hussain both took walks but combined to go just 2/4 in the game with only one extra base hit. 

Defence was ultimately the problem for Medina this game, committing five errors, which was surely costly in a game which ended by a difference of just one run. On the bright side, Tanseer Khawaja was able to strikeout five batters while throwing just 14 balls the entire game in the losing effort.

 

Lahore vs Medina:

Lahore came into this game feeling confident as the second best team in the league while Medina was coming off a tough one-run loss to Istanbul in the first game of their double header of week 4. 

Lahore came out of the gate looking for runs against a fatigued Medina squad. Despite getting on base, however, they were only able to cash in four runs in the first four innings. Nevertheless, their defence kept them in the game to take a respectable 4-1 lead into the top of the fifth inning. Queue Fuzail Thakur: already throwing a gem of a came from the mound (in which he would strikeout 5) “Fuzzy” stepped to the dish and ripped a home run to help Lahore bust open a six run inning. Fuzail would end the game with two home runs, a double and four RBIs to earn player of the game honours. Khuram Channa also chipped in batting 2/3 with a triple and 3 RBIs. Medina looked to make yet another late game comeback scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it would not be enough as Lahore would emerge victorious 11-7 and improve to 3-1.

Medina GM Mohamed Kala decided to take the leadership role when his team was down and crushed a three run shot for his first home run of the season. It wouldn’t be enough, however, and the loss raises questions about how Medina will shake up their lineup while Hassan Chaudhry misses a few games due to personal comittments.

Medina’s record thus far hasn’t represented the type of team BSL analysts had projected them to be. However, with some fire power in the bats and some tightening of the defensive screws, they’re still a dangerous team. Meanwhile, Lahore continues to find ways to win, having beat every team in the league besides first place Cairo. GM Aftab Sheikh has let his team’s game do the talking as trash talk from the green shirts has quieted in most BSL chat rooms.

 

Cairo vs Cordoba:

In a rematch of their meeting on opening day, Cairo and Cordoba faced off with opposite records. Cairo looked to stay undefeated after a confidence boosting win against Istanbul in week 3 while Cordoba was still looking to pick up their first win of the season.

It was bad news for Cordoba right off the bat, unfortunately, as pitcher Hamza Waheed was unable to play due to personal reasons. Shortstop Bilal Javed was called upon to take the mound while Yousaf Chaudhry took over at short. 

Cairo picked up right where they left off in week 3, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by Ali Chaudhry’s fourth home run of the season. However, Cordoba answered back with a six run inning of their own in the top of the third including home runs from Bilal Javed and Shahid Saya. Headed to the bottom of the 5th inning, Cairo held a 9-7. Ali Chaudhry hit another home run while Hassaan Khan went yard for a three run shot. That brought the Cairo shortstop to five home runs in the last two games! With the bases loaded, Yasser Malik ripped a line drive to the warning track to bring home the seventh run of the inning. The drama didn’t end here, however, as Cordoba clawed back to score five runs in the 6th to close the gap to 16-12. In the top of the 7th inning, Cordoba tried to rally again, scoring a run to cut the lead to 16-13. With 2 outs, Akif Waheed (who was having a great game himself) stepped to the plate and crushed a high fly ball to the warning track. Playing it off a bounce, centre fielder Yasser Malik fired a laser to cut-off man Ali Chaudhry who one-hopped a throw to catcher Imran Haq to gun down the runner at home plate to end the game.

Cordoba demonstrated perseverance in this game and showed off their ability to be an offensive powerhouse. However, consistency in the lineup and better judgement on the defensive side of the ball will be the key to help turn Cordoba’s season around. Ahmad Ammad made an impressive catch at third base and also put his improved accuracy on display while making plays to first. Ammad should be looked upon to take a leadership role on this team given his offensive abilities and defensive growth.

Meanwhile, Cairo improves  to 4-0 on the season and has beaten every team except Medina, who they take on in week 5. First overall pick Miqdad Jaffer has slid in well into the third spot batting 3/4 while also making key defensive plays in the field. Abdullah Akhter also batted well going 2/3 with a home run and a double. 

On the pitching end, Bilal Javed made his debut as pitcher on in a last minute lineup change. Javed pitched well, throwing 53 strikes and striking out one. Zia “Doc” Beg had his work cut out for him against an offensive Cordoba team but threw 74 strikes while striking out five.

 


Week 3 Game Recap

Cairo Vs. Istanbul

The early game to kick off week 3 featured Cairo vs Istanbul. Cairo was coming off a close but convincing victory against team Lahore while Istanbul was riding the momentum from week 2 in which they displayed an offensive outburst against Medina and ran away with a one run walk-off victory. Istanbul has a strong group of players and can catch fire in a hurry, so Cairo was coming into this game on their heels for what was considered a key matchup.

As the game began, Cairo came out firing and pumped out 6 runs in the top of the first inning. Lead off man Yasser Malik reached third base while Half Sohail - seemingly unphased by the pressure of being moved up into the second spot - ripped a liner to centre field. First overall pick Miqdad Jaffer followed up with a line drive of his own before Ali Chaudhry slapped a three-run home run- his first of the season - to get the action going. Knowing what Istanbul was capable of offensively given their performance in week 2, Cairo didn’t ease up in the second inning, scoring 7 runs and bringing the lead to 13-2 after two frames! Cairo was able to circle through their lineup fast enough for Ali Chaudhry to smack another shot to deep left field, which cleared the fence for another three-run shot.

Istanbul showed some signs of fight with Jav Ahmed hitting a triple and Imran Choudhry going for a double. Unfortunately however, Istanbul couldn’t keep the bats going as neither of them would cross the plate. Waseem Kala and Naveed Yousaf would bat perfect in the game but would only combine for one RBI and would never cross the plate for any runs. Zaki Bhatti was unable to keep his hit streak alive going 0/2 with 0 RBIs - just one week after a 7 RBI game. Baseer Yaseen continued to contribute for Istanbul hitting a double into the gap for one of only four Istanbul extra base hits. It is obvious that Istanbul has one of the most potent offences in the league, but were perhaps unprepared for a suffocating Cairo defence.

After surrendering only 5 runs in week 2, Cairo only surrendered a total of three runs to Istanbul on 10 hits, making quick work of them as the game lasted only 5.5 innings. The mercy rule was eventually called as Cairo rolled to a 21-3 victory. The win was highlighted by 3 home runs by Cairo shortstop and AGM Ali Chaudhry, each of them being three run shots for a total of 9 RBIs! Meanwhile, Cairo looked defensively sound once again, committing zero errors throughout the game. Tamour Sheikh finally got his bat going, joining Abdullah Akhter who both went 2/3 for the game. Baseball convert Imran Haq continues to find ways to get on base while he works out his swing mechanics, reaching on an error as well as on a fielder’s choice; however, he would cross the plate both times to score runs. Saad Hasnain crushed two base hits in the last spot, which was key in turning over the Cairo lineup.

Some positive news for Istanbul is that Pitcher Riyad Ramjaun has improved his accuracy on the mound, throwing 64 strikes and 24 balls in just 5 innings despite the crushing defeat. Meanwhile, Zia “Doc” Beg picked up the win to go along with 2 strikeouts and 39 strikes.

Some key players from this game made headlines on the stat page after week 3 also, with Istanbul Pitcher Riyad Ramjaun taking the lead for strikeouts, topping all league pitchers with 7. Meanwhile, Cairo Pitcher Zia Beg lowered his ERA to 4.8 and creeps closely behind Riyad with 6 strikeouts. Zain Malik leads the league in batting average at 0.875 as well as and on base percentage of 0.900. Ali Chaudhry takes over the home run and RBI lead with 3 and 9, respectively, catching up to the pack in a single game’s work. 

Despite the lopsided score, these are clearly two talented teams that are sure to provide further entertainment value the next time they meet.

 

Note: The 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm games were rained out. Stay tuned for further details regarding these games.


Week 2 Game Recaps

Cordoba Vs. Lahore

Cordoba came into their week two matchup looking for their first win of the season after a disappointing couple of losses in week 1 against Medina and Cairo. Meanwhile, Lahore was coming off a hot week 1 start and was looking to remain undefeated in the first game of their week 2 doubleheader.

Cordoba started the game out strong, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning which was perhaps a sign of good things to come. Unfortunately, however, Cordoba failed to score more than two runs in an inning for the remainder of the game. Lahore meanwhile were able to capitalize on a five run fourth inning which would ultimately be the difference maker in this tight-knit affair.

For Cordoba it was the usual suspect Ahmad Ammad cashing in a home run for the team. Uncharacteristically, Yousaf Chaudhry batted a dismal 0/3 for the game and was part of the reason Ahmad’s home run was a solo shot. Akif Waheed picked up the slack for his team crushing his first home run of the season and picking up three RBIs. This is where the good news ends for Cordoba, however, as the two home runs from Ahmad and Akif were the only extra base hits for the team all game. 

Meanwhile, Lahore cashed in their runs with five extra base hits, including a home run for Salim Jaichi who tallied three RBIs and earned the first star of the game. Khizer Channa had two doubles and a triple for the game, putting up a perfect batting line along with two RBIs. 

Despite how close the score was in this game on paper it was not much of a pitching duel. Although both Hamza Waheed and Fuzail Thakur threw impressive games, they only combined for three strikeouts, and both threw under 50 strikes for the game. Fuzail kept his ERA under 10, while Hamza Waheed made an improvement from week one. 

 

Lahore Vs. Cairo

Lahore stepped onto the field for game two of their double header after an assuring win against a potent, but underachieving, Cordoba team. Lahore looked to stay undefeated against Cairo who was coming off big win of their own against Cordoba in week 1.

Behind the scenes there was much hype surrounding this game as there were pre-game rumours swirling about who the best defensive team in the league was, with Lahore’s name popping up in several BSL chat rooms. The hype was short-lived, however, as Cairo came out red hot on the defensive side of the ball. Neal Irfan made three spectacular backhand catches on hard hit balls to the warning track, while Imran Haq made an impressive foul-tip catch behind the plate. Ali Chaudhry was up to his usual tricks at shortstop, showcasing his range as well as his throwing accuracy. For the second week in a row Cairo made two impressive relay plays from the outfield to shortstop to home to gun down any potentially scoring runs.

Lahore didn’t have a poor defensive game, per se, but some costly misreads on Cairo batters cost them. With the bases juiced, Neal Irfan crushed a bases clearing triple in the fourth inning over the head of the Lahore left fielder. Meanwhile, Aftab Sheikh mishandled a few hard hit balls at short, perhaps fatigued on the back end of the double header. 

Shamil Khadaroo and Amir Khalil continued to demonstrate why they were Lahore’s first two picks in the draft, combining to bat 5/7 with a couple of RBIs (which were hard to come by in this game). Khuram and Khizer Channa combined to bat 6/7 and brought in three RBIs. Unfortunately, Lahore will need more firepower from the bottom of their lineup in order to score more than 5 runs in a game. Meanwhile, Cairo seems to have been living off the bottom of their lineup offensively so far, with Imran Haq batting 2/3 and and Harris Shahzad picking up a walk and a hit in the game.

Zia Beg played a key role in Cairo’s week 2 win. The “Doc” was definitely in as he racked up 4 strikeouts on 75 strikes while only allowing two earned runs. Most impressively, Cairo shut down Lahore with zero runs in 5 out of 7 innings played on route to staying undefeated this season.

 

Medina Vs. Istanbul

The night cap of week 2 featured the showcase game of the night (one game is taped for YouTube each week), and it sure didn’t disappoint. Istanbul was hungry for their first win after a disappointing loss in week 1. Meanwhile, Medina was looking to stay undefeated behind some hot hitting and consistent pitching.

Right out of the game Istanbul looked like a completely different team than we saw in week 1, cashing in four runs in the first inning. Medina scored five runs of their own before scoring another two in the second frame. Going into the bottom of the third inning Istanbul was down 7-4 but caught fire with a 7 run inning to take the lead 11-7. Even more impressively, Medina answered back with back-to-back 7 run innings in the fourth and fifth, opening up a 21-16 lead going into the bottom of the final inning. If this game wasn’t exciting enough already, Istanbul pulled off an improbable and gutsy comeback, scoring six runs (many of them on two outs) to secure a 22-21 walk-off victory!

Isntanbul looked like a team that refused to lose on this night, scoring 22 runs on 23 hits and coming into form as more of the team they were expected to be, and not the team we all saw in week 1. Hamid Malik batted a perfect 4/4 including a home run and four RBIs. Meanwhile, Zaki Bhatti raked in six RBIs of his own while going 3/4 at the dish. GM Zain Malik batted a perfect 4/4 as well, including a triple. Meanwhile for Medina, Hassan Chaudhry continued his hot start batting a perfect 5/5 including three doubles. Umair Wasim slapped home two home runs while batting 3/4 and cashing in seven RBIs for Medina! 

This game had way too much offensive firepower from both ends, but according to GM Mohamed Kala the key defensive talking point was the play of shortstop Hassan Chaudhry. Despite the week 2 loss, there are whispers that Hassan may be making a case for himself at shortstop while older brother and Cairo AGM Ali Chaudhry continues his impressive play as well. Prior to the game and during warm ups, Hassan Chaudhry claimed that he had a “better arm” than Ali despite seeing the clinic his older brother put on in the game preceding. It is unclear if this duel spilt over into their home; however, Cairo GM Yasser Malik was quick to put friendships aside when comparing his shortstop to the likes of long time friend Hassan.

 

Video Feature Presentation of this game | Coming soon


Week 1 Game Recaps

Medina Vs Cordoba

 

The inaugural BSL Nights season kicked off with an exciting matchup between - what some GMS were calling - the top two ranked teams in the league: Cordoba Vs Medina. Cordoba came into this game with a threatening batting lineup but there remained to be questions regarding their defensive abilities. Meanwhile, Medina looked to display why they’re considered one of the better rounded teams in the league.

Expectedly, it was an offensive affair from the get go, with Yousaf Chaudhry, Ahmad Ahmad and Bilal Javed all showing off their power with home runs and a combined 6 RBIs. Unfortunately however, they  were unable to get help from the remainder of their team who only saw two other players earn extra base hits for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile, Medina displayed the ability for the top half of their lineup to get on base and bring runs home. BSL Sunday veteran and Medina Assistant GM Hassan Chaudhry took home the second star of this game with his 2/4 performance, picking up a double, triple and walk with a couple of RBIS. Ismail Akhter had the sole home run for Medina but was able to cash in 5 total RBIS for the game. 

Although Cordoba GM Yousaf Chaudhry has never doubted any of his picks on draft day, the thought in many spectators’ minds surely included the fact that Ismail Akhter slipped under Cordobas radar and was drafted instead by Medina back in June. Although it was just one game, Cordoba might have liked to have Akhter’s 5 RBIs on their side in this affair.

GM Mohamed Kala was able to cash in 5 RBIs of his own for Medina, while Tanseer Khawaja went 3/4 with an RBI to go with his three strikeouts while on the mound. In coming weeks it is expected that Cordoba Pitcher Hamza Waheed will show improvement with his bat, but was able to show off his improved pitching skills while picking up two strikeouts and 62 total strikes in this game alone.

Despite pre-season rumblings that Cordoba had one of the best two way teams in the league, it was clear after this game that they will have to be more defensively sound in order to compete with power hitting teams such as Medina. Meanwhile, despite their offensive onslaught, consistency will be the determining factor in Medina’ success.

 

Cordoba Vs Cairo

Cordoba came into this game as the second game of a double header after losing their season opener to a talented Medina squad. Cordoba looked fatigued but determined to take on a fresh Cairo team that came in ready to prove their skeptics wrong. Cairo was ranked by some fellow GM’s in the pre-season as (at best) the 3rd best team in the league, so it’s safe to say they had some doubts to address. 

For the most part of this game, both teams played competitive levels of offence. With a home run by Bilal Javed, Ahmad Ammad and some solid base hitting, Cordoba was able to stay at pace with Cairo for the majority of the game. However, they only held the lead for one half of an inning, going up by three runs before Cairo busted the lead open with a six run inning. Cairo’s six run inning was highlighted by solid base hitting from the bottom of their lineup before the bases were cleared by GM Yasser Malik on an opposite field line drive which ultimately brought him home on some lacklustre defensive play on the part of Cordoba. Shortstop and Assistant GM Ali Chaudhry took two walks for the game and was cleaned up by the likes of ageless wonder Hassaan Khan, who picked up two RBIS in the game. Abdullah Akhter showed his speed on the base paths pulling two doubles, while Neal Irfan cashed in an RBI with a double of his own.

Shahid Saya made his BSL debut for Cordoba with three doubles. Unfortunately none of his hits came with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile for Cairo, Half Sohail, Saad Hasnain and Imran Haq made their BSL debuts combining for 4 RBIS on 4 hits.

Pitcher Hamza Waheed showed signs of improvement for team Cordoba, hitting the plate at will and also making several defensive plays with confidence. Meanwhile, Zia “Doc” Beg had a fine game of his own, hitting the corners of the plate at will and turning two double plays. Not only did both pitchers make strong early cases for gold glove awards, but they were confident with their bats as well.

Cordoba ultimately lost their matchup versus Cairo due to costly defensive miscues. Meanwhile, although Cairo was guilty of a few errors of their own, they demonstrated their ability to make a defensive stand when needed, particularly in the final inning in which they tallied a quick three outs to secure the win. Assistant GM and shortstop Ali Chaudhry made tough defensive plays look routine while Bilal Javed had a tough day between the bags for Cordoba. Most impressively, Abdullah Akhter and Ali Chaudhry combined for two relay plays from left field to home, while Yasser Malik and Hassan Khan relayed in a play from centre field to second, recording outs on all three occasions.

Notably, Cairo was playing without the league’s first overall pick in Miqdad Jaffer. When Jaffer returns to the lineup in week 2, Cairo hopes to continue their hot start against team Lahore. Meanwhile, team Cordoba hoped for a better start to the season and will be hungry for a win in week 2, when they too play Lahore.

 

Lahore Vs Istanbul (VIDEO FEATURED)

 

In the night cap of week 1, team Istanbul took on team Lahore. The game began as a pitching dueller the first couple of innings until Shamil Khadaroo broke the game open with a grand slam. From there, team Lahore’s bats woke up along with several defensive miscues by Istanbul, giving Lahore a comfortable lead going into the final innings. 

Amir Khalil demonstrated why he’s an ideal lead-off man for Lahore as he went 2/2 in the game, slapping a double and a triple, while also taking two walks and showing off his speed on the bases. GM Aftab Sheikh struck out and reached base on an error but was still able to cash in 3 RBIs in this, relatively, low scoring affair. 

In the last inning, Istanbul’s bats finally woke up too with Baseer Yaseen crushing a three run home run. With the tying run on deck, Istanbul ran out of gas and could not complete the comeback. 

On the pitching front, after what some were calling a pitching controversy on team Lahore, Fuzail Thaukur aka “Fuzzy” threw a total of 47 strikes while picking up three strikeouts in his debut. Meanwhile for Istanbul, Riyad Ramjaun three 42 strikes while striking out four in the loss.

Defensively, GM Zain Malik tried to set the tone for team Istanbul by making some impressive plays at shortstop, including a backhanded stab and tag on reportedly concussed Salman Hoda. Team Lahore was issued a warning from the commissioner’s office on Friday morning after failing to clear Hoda through the league’s medical protocol and preventing him from playing the league minimum of two innings in the field.

Team Lahore completed week 1 with a win while Istanbul will look to  carry momentum from the last inning into next game. 

Video Feature Presentation of this game | Click to View


Team Outlook: Istanbul

Istanbul:


Team Istanbul comes into the inaugural season of BSL Nights with a lot of potential and promise and is led by GM Zain “One Direction” Malik.  Zain has been passed over as GM in the Sunday BSL league and will use BSL Nights as his coming out party to BSL management.  Unlike other teams in the league, Zain opted not to select a bigger bat as his AGM but instead went the defensive route and selecting a pitcher and former BSL teammate Riyad Ramjaun.  Riyad has had a steady BSL career but will look to take his pitching skills to the next level in BSL Nights and cement himself as one of the best.  Unfortunately, things did not start off great as team Istanbul were awarded the last pick in the draft; to further add salt to the wound, Riyad’s car broke down on the way to the draft while Zain had to draft without his AGM.

Draft Analysis: Istanbul chose to go the familiar route and drafted friends and family for most of the draft, hoping that team chemistry and comradery will give them that advantage over others.  Not wasting any time, Istanbul quickly added 2 big veteran bats in WK and Imran Qureshi with their top 2 picks.  WK is coming off a championship season in which he also picked up a gold glove and a playoff MVP and will hope to continue that trend of dominance.  In a surprising move, Istanbul selected All-Star pitcher Zia Beg in the 5th round.  While most were left confused given the team already had an established pitcher, Istanbul in turn traded Zia Beg & Neal Irfan for power hitter Baseer Yaseen & Zaki Bhatti.  Baseer will look to rebound from an off year in BSL while Zaki will shore up Istanbul’s infield.


Strengths/Weaknesses: Unlike other teams, Istanbul will rely on small ball and defense to win games.  Zain’s older brother Hamid Malik joins BSL Nights after playing years of softball in other leagues and will be the anchor in the OF while the IF hosts multiple players who can play multiple positions.  On paper, Istanbul does not look like a power hitting team, but solid on base percentage will be the keys to success especially in front of big hitters WK, Baseer & Imran Q.  The biggest question will be how the lower part of the batting order will perform and if they can provide solid OBP.

X Factors: Jav “The Mechanic” Ahmed, joined BSL in its inaugural year and was a .500 hitter until he suffered a torn labrum injury.  After taking a year off and rehabbing, he returned last year to post another solid hitting season and if he can continue to build on that return, he could turn out to be a steal in the 3rd round.  Saoud Ramjaun could also be a huge x-factor.  Often drafted in the later rounds, there are rumblings that he is fed up and is willing to put in the work in turning his stock around.

Rumors: Istanbul is full of BSL veterans and is relying on this experience to not practice. The team's management is channeling their inner Allen Iverson and only talks about practice without actually practicing. According to confidential team sources, GM Zain Malik is too busy conducting surveys for Iftaar places a la Steve Harvey instead of putting together a team practice. In other rumours, Zayd Ramjaun is in an interesting position this season. Although he has played most of his career in RF and C, there are some murmurs he’s been working with older cousin Riyad in developing his pitching skills. This would add another element to Istanbul’s defense if Riyad’s glove can be used elsewhere while Zayd takes the mound. The team covets the versatility of Asad Moten to solidify their outfield, but the rumoured asking price was Waseem Kala. In the end, Malik took a survey to decide whether to pull the trigger on the trade, but the survey said "don't do it".

GM Aftab Sheikhs thoughts on team Istanbul: "GM Zain has put together a well cohesive group of friends and relatives. Istanbul team cohesiveness will be second to none in the league. We’ll need to keep a close eye on Waseem Kala and Imran Quershi who can change any game with one swing of the bat."

 

Zain Malik GM Interview Video


Team Outlook: Medina & Lahore

Medina:

Named after the capital city of early Islam and the Caliphate, team Medina enters the inaugural season of BSL Nights as the most experienced and, some would argue (on paper at least), the strongest team in the league. After being dismissed as a GM candidate by the honchos running the BSL Sunday league, Mohamed Kala agreed to take the job as GM of Medina with the ultimate goal of winning a Championship and to prove his BSL detractors wrong. Kala showed the rest of the league he wasn't playing around when he signed BSL Sunday league master tactician and former teammate Hassan Chaudhry as the assistant GM for Medina. After orchestrating the Chaudhry coup, refusing to trade him to team Cairo, managed by Chaudhry's best friend, and being called a snake by Cairo's GM, Kala sent out a memo advising other league executives to call him "Kala Mamba" for the pain he was going to cause teams in BSL Nights. To make matters worse for the league, the team had the opportunity to further strengthen the squad by landing the third overall pick in the draft.

Draft Analysis: Medina stacked up on BSL Sunday league veterans during the first few rounds of the draft, highlighted by the selections of Ismail Akhter, Tanseer Khawaja and Ahmed Hussain. Medina will rely on its experienced players to mentor some of the new, unknown talent on the team. In the middle rounds, Medina took a risk by not drafting BSL Sunday league players and gambling  on a shortstop, Safwan Khan, who Kala scouted extensively during the tryouts. Rounding out the remainder of the draft, Medina selected highly athletic, dual sport athletes to provide the team with positional depth and athleticism. The team also drafted 16 year old infield prodigy, Yousuf Hoda, who, with mentorship, Medina management believe has the potential to turn into an all-star in BSL Nights.

Strengths/Weaknesses: Medina will rely on the team's experience and balanced roster as the keys to success. With positional depth in both the infield and the outfield, the team has options to cover any defensive weaknesses. In addition, they possess one of the best pitchers in BSL Nights in Tanseer Khawaja, who has a habit of striking out hitters with his trickery. Although a well balanced team, Medina (on paper at least) lacks the offensive power to go blow-for-blow with some of the power hitting teams in the league. Although they have several players who will hit for average, their power hitting will ultimately come from Ismail Akhter.
 
X Factors: Ahmad Hussain is healthier and looks to have recovered from his shoulder injury in the BSL Sunday league last year. However, prior to his injury, Hussain was consistent with both bat and glove. If Hussain has fully healed, it could become real ugly for team's facing Medina. Abdu "The Shark" Sharkawy is a unique player for team Medina. Although he offers lightening quick speed and a safe glove in the infield and outfield, if The Shark is able to light things up with the bat this season (after 15 years out of the game) his speed on the base paths would be huge for team Medina.

Rumors: It is no secret that Kala covets the power bat of his cousin, Waseem Kala, to turn Medina into a force to be reckoned with. Despite repeated overtures by Istanbul offering Waseem to Medina for Ahmad Hussain and Hammad Khan, Kala did not pull the trigger because he could not agree to a second player. Although things have cooled on the trade front for team Medina, WhatsApp group chats continue to blow up linking Waseem to Medina in trade rumours. Similar rumours continue to spread at Taraweeh.

GM Yousaf Chaudhry’s thoughts on team Medina: "Mohamed Kala got extremely lucky as one of the best players in the draft, Ismail Akhtar fell into his lap. He was able to start the draft with a bang, drafting Tanseer (top pitcher), Ahmad Hussain and Safwan Khan. With Hassan Chaudhry as his Asst GM, team Medina has the best pitcher and outfield in the league. Although the draft started out to be promising, the addition of several new recruits may prove to be teams Achilles heel. With the team’s batting highly reliant upon Ismail Akhtar and new talent, their success is at risk.  Adding fuel to the fire Hasan Chaudhry is expected to miss several weeks of playtime. Team Medina is looking to add the much needed batting power of Waseem Kala via trade that will make them a force to be reckoned with. Rumours of trades are echoing at every Tarawih."

Mohamed Kala GM Interview Video

 

Lahore:

Team Lahore hopes to live up to its namesake city which has a historic Islamic history dating back to the 1100s. GM Aftab Sheikh had a goal of putting together his ‘Rexdale’ team which made its debut during the BSL Charity Tournament back in August 2017, however will this teams fate meet the same underwhelming end? His Assistant GM Salim Jaichi played one season in BSL Sunday and hopes to build on his offensive prowess.

Draft Analysis: GM Aftab continued with well known picks from BSL Sunday including Amir Khalil and Asad Moten. Lahore pulled off a blockbuster trade when GM Yasser from Team Cairo unexpectedly took Shamil Khadaroo in the 2nd round. Lahore had a panic attack fearing a key ingredient would be missing and then traded rookie prospect Abdullah Akhter in return of the same.

Strengths weakness: The key strengthens for Team Lahore will their ability to be a cohesive team, which Aftab believes to be the best in the league. Majority of the picks are close friends so making in-game adjustments will be much easier. With several gold gloves on the team there defensive will likely be the best in the league. A key area of opportunity will be their offensive towards the bottom half of the line up. As well, there early pitching controversy seems to have cleared up but still remains a question mark with Fuzail taking the mound.

X Factor: The x-factor for Team Lahore will be their defense. In addition to the gold glove of GM Aftab, they have an outfield to be reckoned with. Asad Moten, Khuram Channa and Shamil Khadaroo round out key positions. Also new additions to BSL Omar, Mohammad and Bilal are definite x-factors in a well balanced Lahore squad.

Rumors: GM Aftab was active on draft day with securing a key piece of Team Lahore, Shamil Khadaroo. There was a serious offer in a 3 way trade with Istanbul and Medina nothing materialized in the end. Also, there are whispers that aGM Salim will be sporting a Small Sized number 10 jersey in hopes of bringing increased attention to his supposed masculine body. In other news, Lahore GM Aftab has already made championship dinner reservations at Lahore Tikkah House (LTH), where Aftab and Salman Hoda will be footing the bill for any BSLer that would like to attend.

GM Mohamed Kala’s thoughts on team Lahore:  “Aftab drafted a team of his boys from Rexdale. I didn't know we allowed gangsters in the BSL? Although Lahore has some quality players, the new guys will have to come through consistently in order for Lahore to be competitive. I'm still perplexed by Aftab's ill advised decision to overpay by trading Abdullah Akhtar to Cairo in a trade for Shamil Khadaroo especially when Shamil will be missing numerous games and could have been had for less. It has also come to my attention there is a pitching controversy in Lahore. Aftab has three capable pitchers in Amir Khalil, Fuzail Thakur and the pitching machine, and it'll be interesting to see which one he chooses when Medina faces Lahore in week 3. I do, however, have to credit him for the shrewd picks of Asad Moten and Khizer Channa who have the potential to deliver clutch hits. Despite drafting three catchers (on paper at least) he was still able to draft a decent roster. Overall, I feel his team has several defensive weaknesses and no real depth in the event a player misses significant games, but that is not my concern. I still look forward to delivering a whooping when Medina plays Lahore in week 3.”

Aftab Sheikh GM Interview Video


Team Outlooks: Cairo & Cordoba

Cairo:

Named after the sprawling Egyptian capital city, team Cairo comes into the inaugural season of BSL Nights with some promise, but also with some big question marks. Initially joining the league as a player, Yasser Malik took the job as GM with the ultimate goal of solidifying himself in BSL management lore after a somewhat disappointing offensive campaign in the 2016 BSL Sunday league. Team Cairo began making moves right out of the gate by signing BSL rookie/mystery man Ali Chaudhry as the assistant GM. The team further hit the league jackpot by solidifying the first overall pick in the draft, which quickly became a point of intimidation for Medina assistant Hassan Chaudhry, who was vacationing with Malik at the time. 


Draft Analysis: Cairo made some bold moves during the first few rounds of the draft, highlighted by selecting multi-talented baseball/softball veteran Miqdad Jaffer. Jaffer looks to make a strong return to the BSL community and will be looked upon to mentor some of the new talent on the team. Cairo also decided to take a sure bet first baseman in Zaid Ghansar, who Malik grew fond of dating back to when they shared the fields as Ayyubids in BSL 2016. Rounding out the first few rounds of the draft, Cairo selected highly recruited Lahore prospect Shamil. However, in a desperation move Lahore quickly sent rookie outfielder Abdullah Akhtar to Cairo in exchange for Shamil, a move that time will dictate the impact of moving forward. 


Strengths/Weaknesses: Cairo looks to build their success on defense. With a strong trio of outfielders in Jaffer, Malik and Akhtar. In addition, their infield will be anchored by ultra-athletic shortstop Ali Chaudhry. Zia Beg was also acquired by the team in a post draft trade, a player who's pitching resume and work ethic speak for themselves. Although a defensively sound team, Cairo (on paper at least) lacks eye-popping offensive power. Although they have several players who can regularly get on base, their power hitting will ultimately come from one, maybe two players. 


X Factors: Hassaan Khan is returning from a 13 year absence from softball. However, his mind blowing offensive numbers from his past life made him too tempting for Malik and Chaudhry to pass on. If Khan can resurrect himself as the player he once was, it could be scary. Neal Irfan also sits in a unique position for team Cairo. Although he offers a safe glove, if Neal is able to consistently get on base this season it would prove to be a difference maker for team Cairo. 


Rumors: After making a few draft day trades the rumor mill was somewhat quiet for team Cairo, until Yasser realized that his long time friend Farooq Sani is a player he probably should have drafted. The rumor is Yasser is trying to make a deal with Yousaf Chaudhry of team Cordoba for his childhood friend. 

 

GM Zain Malik’s thoughts on Team Cairo: “Team Cairo seems to have the most speed in the league and will definitely utilize this to their advantage.  As a team, we’re going to have to ensure our defense is up to its standards, otherwise, Cairo will burn you with their speed.  By trading them Zia Beg, they also have an established pitcher now but was worth it for us to pick up Baseer & Zaki.  I just hope Zia and/or Neal are not the ones who come back to bite us in the butt when playoffs roll around.  Overall, I am impressed in the team they drafted but definitely see weaknesses in their fielding we can expose”.

Yasser Malik GM Interview Video

 

Cordoba

More than a thousand years ago the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula and progressed their dynasty in a new part of the world. Team Cordoba starts the inaugural season with the same enthusiasm as their ancestors. Team Cordoba is all set to conquer BSL Nights and create a legacy of their own, Yousaf Chaudhry was granted the opportunity in BSL management to step into the GM role after his successful season in the BSL Sunday league in 2017. Further, the addition of Bilal Javed as an assistant GM, slated the team in a promising position to start the draft.    

Draft Analysis: Cordoba‘s draft start with a tough decision to pass on Ismail Akhtar, and select Ahmad Ahmad as their first pick. Ahmad Ahmad brings dedication and strong work ethic which will prove to be exemplary for the Team. The rest of the draft focused on a strategy that would lead the team to a promising season. A combination of veteran softball players and promising family players was a strategy deployed by the GM.  Content with their draft no plans have been made for any future trades. 

Strengths/Weaknesses:  The primary strategy of Team Cordoba was to build a strong offense.  Several players on the team have the ability to hit the long ball which can make Team Cordoba a force to be reckoned with.. However, defense can be their primary concern as all the infielders are playing their primary position for the first time. Furthermore, their outfielder also lack experience and will be relying on newly acquired talent. The team’s GM is confident in the ability of his pitcher and expects a strong overall performance to make up for fielding vulnerabilities.      

X Factors: Shahid Saya and Farooq Sani are bringing extensive cricketing experience to the softball world which may prove to be a competitive advantage. If they can translate their skills and talent then they can make a significant impact on both ends of the field. In addition, Akif Waheed and Talal Hayat will need to step-up in the outfield to accommodate for the team’s lackluster defense.  

Rumors: Ahmad Ahmad being a strong team player, rumours are already in play about a tailored softball workout regimen for his teammates to increase the already explosive home run power of the team. A patent on this regiment is being created with the help of Kala Law. Yasser Malik has offered a trade for Farooq Sani, however Yousaf Chaudhry seems more then content with his cricketer. There is also rumors that Abdul 'HULK' Butt wants to change the team name to Cordoba Cobra's. Only time will tell if the name will stick, or if the GM will trade him for referring to him as a snake.

GM Yasser Malik’s thoughts on team Cordoba: “Yousaf drafted a competitive team. It will always remain puzzling to me why he passed on one of the best players in the league at the second pick in the draft, setting up team Medina for slipped pick after slipped pick. However, I do have to credit him that despite some of his moves being questionable, he still produced a competitive roster. I do feel that his team has several defensive liabilities and no real depth, but I guess we’ll see when we face off with them in week 1.”

Yousaf Chaudhry GM Interview Video


BSL Nights Teams

Here are the teams for 2018 BSL Nights in alphabetical order. Some trades are still being discussed so nothing is final.