Lahore vs Istanbul:
Game 1 of this weeks match up featured Lahore and Istanbul. This match up had the potential to be an exciting game but we all know that's not what happened here.
As the away team, Lahore was up to bat first and quickly showed Istanbul what a mountain they would have to climb if they wanted to stay in this game. Istanbul started off extremely flat not doing much to help their chances in this game. Maybe this was a part of their game plan? Maybe they planned to come out firing in the final few innings as they are known to do? Or maybe this would turn into an old fashioned beat down by a team that wanted to prove to the league that they are the best despite what their record suggests (2nd place).
The game summary is simple for Istanbul. On this embarrassing evening, only 4 players had 1 hit each and the rest layed a goose egg. On the other hand, we have an emerging star in Fuzail Thakur who nailed his 3rd homerun bringing in 2 RBI's along with some intense pitching, paralyzing Istanbuls entire roster. Lahores GM showed why he is the team leader as he consistently placed the ball in oppo field. Overall everyone batted well and found the gaps in this game. Istanbul was down a key fielder in the outfield as Hamid Malik was away on a last minute urgent call from his wife. I think they were out of rotti's and he had to miss the game to provide for his family. In any case, that would have made no difference in this game as Lahore, for lack of a better term simply just sat on Istanbul. Istanbul's catchers couldn't even throw the ball back to their pitcher, as they kept missing him on overthrows or short throws constantly throwing Riyad Ramjaun's focus off. We have seen some potential from Istanbul but on some nights they look like they are out there star gazing rather then fielding. Any spectators watching this game would think these 2 teams belong in completely different tiers.
Its not too late for Istanbul to turn things around as they have plenty of potential but, they will need to go back to the drawing board to see where and how they can improve. If they keep this up, they might as well join an all ladies slow-pitch team as they could possibly dominate big time. Or, they can start to take things seriously, rally behind their captains and get ready for a major run proving themselves as real threats to win the league. Now the question is, which Istanbul team will show up for the remainder of the season? Stay tuned
Istanbul vs Medina:
Game 2 of week 6 was a match Medina wanted to take as Istanbul has had their number all season long. Istanbul has hit a bit of a slump as of late but was looking to rebound against a familiar foe who they managed to steal 2 games from in very tightly contested games. Both times these teams squared off, Medina fell short by 1 point including an incredible 10 point comeback by Istanbul in the final 2 innings. Although Medina didn’t have their full squad, they weren’t prepared to stand around and take a beating. Coming off a win against Cairo the prior week, Medina was looking to make a statement.
Istanbul looked like a different team in their double header as they jumped up to a 2-0 lead right off the bat. It didn’t take Medina long to get their bats working as they quickly turned that 2-0 deficit into a 5-0 lead. Medina opened up the game with grand slam by Ismail Akhter which helped put them up by 2. As the game progressed, they took a sizable lead which put a lot of pressure on Istanbul. After making 2 deep catches in the 4th inning, Hamid Malik stepped into a solo homer for his 3rd on the year which seemed to wake up some of Istanbul’s batters. Istanbul’s bats have been known to wake up late as they have been chasing scores for the majority of the season and this game was no different. It didn’t make a difference to Medina as they kept their foot on the gas and continued to steadily increase their lead. Istanbul’s AGM who took a bullet of a hit off his hand in the previous week, played through his injury as his hand was throbbing all game long. He has been Istanbul’s most consistent hitter but wasn’t able to find a rhythm this game before eventually sitting out in the final inning. Arif Iqbal had a nice base hit to first but had to waddle his way to first as he injured his Quad. Despite the injuries Istanbul seemed poise to wake up from their 4 inning long nap and finally get in the game. Istanbul rallied back with 6 runs in the 5th inning hoping to carry that momentum into the open inning where they would hope to steal another game from Medina. Zain Malik had a big time triple in the final inning which brought in 2 RBI’s. This served as a reminder for Medina that they really cant sleep on Istanbul until the fat lady sings. As Istanbul tried closing the gap it really was too little too late as each out brought them closer to the inevitable loss.
Ismail Akhter paved the way for Medina with 2 giant homer’s and 6 RBI’s taking the lead league in that category meanwhile Captain Mo Kala was up to his usual antics keeping their outfield guessing as to where he might place the ball next adding 3 RBI's in this win. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Hamid Malik brought in 3 RBI’s for Istanbul and Zhakki Bhatti brought in 2 of his own going 1/3 at bat. Baseer Yaseen was 4/4 and has been very consistent as of late.Imran chaudry is slowly emerging as a somewhat consistent batter as he went 3/3 with n RBI this game.
It is obvious that Istanbul has some work to do both on offence and defensive but when in full form they are a force to be reckon with. Stay tuned to see bow Istanbul adjusts as we enter the second half of the season. Medina has had a slow start to the season with some tough luck but don't be surprised if they force their way to the top. This team is just getting warmed up.
Cairo vs Cordoba:
Cordoba, on a two game streak faced a shorthanded Cairo team. Cairo’s GM and AGM were drinking cocktail's (hopefully halal) at a wedding while Miqdad Jaffer led the charge. Cordoba with the full 13 man roster were looking to continue their streak but Cairo playing long ball game, put up 13 run in the first 6 inings. Cordoba rallied back in the bottom of the 6th by scoring 6 runs and tying the game. However, Cairo put up 3 more run to take the lead. Ahmed Butt delivered a clutch homerun to tie the game. The game ended in a tie with cumulative 7 homeruns by Neal Irfan, Abdullah Akhtar, Tamour Sheikh, Cairo’s substitute, Bilal Javed, Ahmad Ahmed and Ahmed Butt