BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 1 Recap
Game Summary Lahore at Cordoba:
Bsl Nights Season 2 kicked off exactly how some expected as two of the semi finalists from last year competited fiercly to the end. First, Lahore started off the Season with 3 Runs in the first inning, led by superstar Shamz Khadaroo. Cordoba, on the other hand, was missing its GM, and notable all-star, Yousaf "Chu" Chaudhry (we hear that he is training during his European vacation). Despite not having Chu, Cordoba was able to make him proud as they responded in similar fashion by puting up 2 runs on the scoreboard, with the first home run of BSL Nights season 2 By AGM Bilal Javed. From then on Cordoba tightened up its defense with the help of veterens in the outfield like Ahmed Butt, Khuram Channa and Saad Husnain. Up until the final inning, Lahore was able to rally only 6 Runs. GM Aftab Sheikh must have had a talk with the boys before their final at bats, because they finally woke up by putting up a seven spot on Cordoba. A monster 3 run home run shot to CF by Salim Jachi was the highlight as it tied the game and this jolted Lahore players with an energy shock - Lahore was confident that they were now going to win the game. But Lahore was unable to add more than 7 runs, so this meaned that the game was tied heading into the bottom half of the final inning. Needing only one run to win the game, Cordoba, to their credit, showed that they were not rattled despite giving up the big lead. Zaid Ghansar hit a key double and was brought home by the clutch hitting of Hamza Waheed. This proved to be the winning run of what was originally a blowout turned into exciting game. The next time these two teams meet Lahore will look to be more consistent with their bat, and Cordoba will look to keep up its winning ways.
- Kamil Siddiqui and Suleman Mann made their BSL Nights debut. Kamil batted perfect while Mann had three RBIs
- Hitting: Cordoba top and middle part of their lineup had the best average compared against other teams in terms of batting average. Bilal Javed went 4/4 nearing the top leaderboard for HR, Runs and RBI.
- 0 errors committed by the defense
- Hamza Waheed locked down pitching and his ability to limit walks. Looks like Waheed has developed a curve ball that left a few Lahori batters buckling their knees.
- Getting back GM Chu will help strengthen the batting and fielding
- Not becoming complacent when up by a large margin
- The ability to fight back in the last inning by putting up 7 runs to tie the game - opponents should not sleep on this team regardless of how much you are up by.
- Lahore hitting - Khizer Channa 4/4 with three runs scored will be important an piece to Lahore offense. Bottom of the order went 6/9, .667%, which is superb
- Fawad Shaikh made his BSL Nights debut but could be missing time due to injury sustained late in the game (so this is a pro/con)
- Former pitcher of the year, Zia Beg allowed only 1 walk. Keeping up these type of performances should propel the Doc once again as a premier pitcher in Nights.
- Getting back Shahid Saya should help strengthen the batting lineup and fielding
- Reduce the number of Fielder's choice when batting
Game Summary Damascus at Cairo:
What began as a promising start for the expansion team, Damascus, ends with the former regular season champs, Cairo walking off with a thrilling victory. Cairo entered the game as clear favourites, and murmurs from the Cairo bench thought this matchup to be unchallenging at best. Boy were they in for a surprise. Damascus jumped out with a quick 5 spot in their opening inning, but not to be outdone, Cairo was able to tie it up when it was time for their turn to bat, led by Jibran "Jibby" Khan's 3-run homer. Cairo put another 5 spot up in the third by plugging hit after key hit, using speed on the bases to buckle Damascus' infield/outfield defense. Not to be outdone, Damascus put up 7, fighting its way back into the game while regaining the lead. "Our bottom of the batting lineup guys did an excellent job of getting on base, giving an opportunity for us to catch up" says, Damascus GM Safwan Khan, whose grand salam helped jeer the Damascus bench onwards. Two batters later, Ahmad Ammad cranked his first homer of the season. At this point in the game, Cairo was in a dog fight, not a puppy fight. Yasser Malik, GM of Cairo, showed that, unlike last year, this year Cairo will show resiliance when down late in games - and that's exactly how this game ended. Again, speed was helped put a 2 spot up in the bottom of the fifth, this time through timely hitting by Abdu Sharkawy. As the game went tied into the final inning, Damascus was unable to use any of its momentum, going 3 up 3 down, leaving the door wide open for Cairo. Needing only one run to win the game, and with 1 out and 1 on, Baseer Yaseen decided enough was enough and that it was time for us all to go home as he closed the game with a walk off monster two run homer to win it for Cairo. With Cairo players jumping in joy, Damascus players should hold their heads up because they took one of the best team's to the max. When these two teams meet again, it can be a showstopper. Game video to be available on Youtube soon...
- Clutch hitting: The bottom half of Cairo batting had three extra base hits, which is half of Cairo's total. The homer by Jibby Khan enabled Cairo to get back in the game, and The Shark put pressure on Damascus' defense. The top of Cairo hitting had a stellar game in terms of average and runs scored. Their hits were able to find holes in the defense. Basser Yaseen's skill to take one of the best pitchers long shows how deep this lineup is. Reigning MVP Ali Chaudhary seems to have picked up where he left off from last year, going 3/3 in this contest with a couple extra base hits. He seems to be on a mission to show once again that he's the best player in our league.
- The pitching of Miqdad Jaffer and his ability to get quick outs. His curve ball is nasty. Several times made Damascus batters puzzled by hitting the corners of the plate. He's the early favourite for Pitcher of the Year.
- Huzefa Ahmed made his BSL Nights debut
- Some head scratching errors in routine plays from SS to 1B.
- 0 errors for the first game of players that never played together
- Shane Worthington and Awais Malik made their BSL Nights debut, hitting a combined 3/5 60%.
- Neal Irfan stepped up with two timely doubles.
- Out of the six innings that were played, all their runs were scored in only two innings, so the team struggled to rally runs. As a result they could look to alter the batting lineup to combat this issue.
Game Summary Medina at Istanbul:
In the Final game of the evening, Medina hosted Istanbul in what was a pretty intense matchup. Istanbul started the game off by mercying the defending champs in the first inning. This was mostly due to the team taking walks as newly promoted pitcher Atif Parvez took the mound in his first BSLN game ever. Atif was feeling the heat on the mound as he was trying his best to figure out how to help Medina win this game.
We didn’t get to see Istanbul’s full offensive Arsenal this week as they only had 7 hits all game due to some pitching troubles on Medina’s end. Some plays to highlight though. Saoud Ramjaun leads team Istanbul for the most RBI’s in the season so far sitting pretty at 2. Fuzail Thakur had a great day at bat going a perfect 3 for 3 while holding it down on the pitching front. Tamour Sheikh went 2/3 but, his team expected a much better hitting game from him. He made up for it at 3rd base as he was rock solid for them all night. Riyad Ramjaun went 1/2 in this game while holding it down in the outfield. There was a slick double play made by Zain Malik getting his brother out at 3rd… his brother obviously got the last laugh in this game.
Medina responded to Istanbul’s mercy inning with a big inning of their own scoring 5. Zahid Merchant started the inning off with a nice hit to RF followed by a deep line drive to RCF by Hamid Malik whizzing over Abdullah Akhtar’s head for a double. Later that inning, Rookie Zane Sheikh stepped up to the plate for his first ever at bat and smoked a 3 run Homer to rid his stomach of all those butterflies. He had another giant hit in the 4th inning that hit the top of the fence but stayed in for a double. We were thinking it before but can confidently say it now, Zane seems like he’s the steal of this years draft. Not only did he do it on the offensive end but he ended up saving Medina the game in the last inning as the ball was hit to 3rd. He fumbled it but quickly picked it up, tagged the guy at 3rd and gunned it to first for the close double play. With the final inning remaining and Medina down by 1, Mo Kala stepped up to the plate with 2 outs and the winning run on 1st. Earlier in the game Mo was furious with himself for getting out prior 2 at bats. Well he more than made up for it here on this play as he put one over Rameez Siddiqi’s head in LF pulling in 2 RBI’s for a walk off victory! Can you say CLUTCH??? That’s how you lead a team to victory!
Summary of main stats in this game:
Zane Sheikh – 3/3, HR, 4 RBI’s
Hamid Malik – 3/3, 2 Doubles, 1 walk, 1 RBI
Ismail Akhtar – 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s
Zahid Merchant – 3/4, 1 Double, 1 RBI
Fuzail "Fuzzy" Thakur - 3/3, 2 RBI’s
Saoud Ramjaun – 0/0, 2 RBI’s, 4 walks
Tamour Sheikh – 2/3
Riyad Ramjoun – 1/2, 1 RBI