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.