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.