Istanbul vs. Lahore
Finally some nice softball weather. It was a nice long break while it lasted but its time to get back into softball mode!! Istanbul hosted Lahore in the first game of the night as both teams were still looking for this first win. Istanbul didn’t waste any time as they came out of the gates firing, mercying Lahore in the first inning as well as maxing out their HR's. Istanbul`s top 4 batters, Riyad Ramjaun, Abdullah Akhtar, Rameez Siddiqi and Zain Malik went for a combined 16 for 20 at bat pulling in 9 RBI’s and 2 HR’s. The entire team had a great day at the plate going 25 for 41 (61%). The next 2 innings, Istanbul put on a defensive clinic with multiple double plays (courtesy of Captain Zain). One of them Lahore would love to have back as Sham forgot to tag up before leaving the bag. With Istanbul up big (9-0), we all know what came next. In classic Istanbul fashion, they took a little power nap, allowing Lahore to stroll back into this game tying it up at 13 a piece. Captain Aftab Sheikh lead his team going 4 for 4 at bat which instilled confidence in his group. The rest of the guys started to pick it up late in the game as Shamil Khadaroo, Zia Beg, Shahid Saya and Khizer Chana combined to bring in 12 RBI’s. Late in this game, the score was tied at 14 when Zain Malik hit a double to RF bringing in 2 RBI’s to put Istanbul up by 3. Unfortunately, Lahore ran out of gas and weren’t able to make 1 last push as Istanbul closed out the final inning with ease.
With the L in this game, Lahore is the only team still winless heading into week 5. They certainly have what it takes to turn things around and are hoping to get back on track this week when they square off against Damascus in the late game. Can Lahore turn up the heat and start closing out games? We’ll find out when they visit Damascus next week in what should be a nail biter. Stay tuned!!!
Summary of Main stats:
Rameez Siddiqi – 4/5, 3 RBI’s, 1 HR
Abdullah Akhtar – 4/5, 2 RBI’s, 1 HR
Riyad Ramjaun – 4/5, 2 RBI’s
Zain Malik – 4/5, 2 RBI’s
Umer Jabbar – 3/5, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s
Aftab Sheikh – 4/4, 2 Runs
Khizer Channa – 3/4 RBI’s
Aftab Khan – 3/4, 2 Runs
Mohammad Al-Sukhni – 2/3 1 RBI
Imarn Haq – 2/3, 2 Runs
Damascus vs. Istanbul
For the second game of the back-to-back, Istanbul looked to continue its momentum when it hosted Damasacus in the prime time slot. Istanbul, carrying only 9 men felt looked great, especially towards the beginning of the game, whereas the Damascus group earned a hard fought win.
The fellas in red showed their capabilities as they lead 8-4 going into the third. Notably, Rameez Siddiqi and Tamour Sheikh had consecutive long home runs. After that, Istanbul found it difficult to put runs on the board, since they were only able to manage a total of 10 runs. Riyad Ramjaun and Abdullah Akhtar certainly did their part each contributing three hits. Istanbul lower half of the order may require further balance, which is a mulling problem for any GM to have, but Zain Malik seems like he will figure it out.
Damascus, on the other hand, were able to find holes in the Istanbul defence, leading the boys in blue to put up 21 runs in total. Six of its players were able to string together multiple hits. Notably Ahmad Ammad led the way, going 5-5 with 2 home runs. He looks like a more complete hitter this year - we all know how he can put the ball over the fence with ease, but now he is beginning to drive pitches to un-manned parts of the field. When you have an OBP of 100%, the guy following you in the batting line-up usually has more opportunities to drive in runs, and credit goes to Shane Worthington for having 5 RBIs on the day.
Despite the loss, Istanbul should be feeling good about its prospects, and they will look to continue to show the rest of the leauge the dangerous team that they can be. Meanwhile, Damascus will look to build upon its first ever win with its second ever win taking on Lahore in week 3.
- Top of the lineup performing well, getting on base and showing power
- Umer Jabbar made his BSL Nights debut, driving in 3 big RBIs with a bases loaded double
- Only had 3 outfielders. Having that extra OF would have made it a closer game
- Achieving a more balanced line-up so the runs are spread across innings
- First win as a group, in its existence, look to build upon momentum
- Abdul Murad made his BSL Nights debut showing impressive skills with the leather.
- Premier pitching display by Tans Bhai
- 5 errors - it's still early in the season but this number is too high if the team wants to make the playoffs
Cordoba vs. Cairo
In the night game we were excited to see a potential championship matchup as Cordoba visited Cairo. This game was over after the first inning as the Spaniards crushed the Egyptians by a score of 32-10. The men in yellow were an offensive jaugernaut striking from top to bottom of its line-up. Meanwhile Cairo was left defeated but they should not hold their heads down at all.
Cordoba is a skilled team, perhaps one of the most complete teams in our league in terms of talent, experience, and cricketers. When they are clicking, the outcome can be similar like this against anybody. That is to say they were definitely on for this game. GM Chu, who made his season start, led a balanced team, and they outplayed Cairo both offensively and defensively. Bilal Javed is off to a flying start this season, having not recorded a single out this season! Khurram Channa and Saad Husnain have shown excellent base hitting abilities. Hamza Waheed is ascending, like we thought he would when speaking about his pitching, but who knew he would be hitting doubles and triples like this? Kamil Siddiqui is leading the league in batting average - this alone makes him a strong rookie of the year candidate. And lastly, the gentle giant Faisal Shamshad hit his first BSL Nights home run. This line-up is scary.
Cairo was forced to making adjustments since inning one, and it could not make up for the deficit, especially with respect to its defence. Having only 3 OF hurt against a Cordoba club that demands opponents OFs to play at their best. In this game, lots of balls went over Cairo OFs heads, which is a credit to Cordoba hitters, but spectators also saw some misplays which begins to question Cairo's legitimacy as repeat contenders. Cairo GM will let you know that their best players, most notably star pitcher Miqdad Jaffer was missing, so there is only so many insights we can take away from this game. Cairo should come back strong, led by example by none other than Ali Chaudhary, who notably had two monster home runs in this game. Because of the missing players and Ali's strong offensive game, Cairo should remain positive moving forward, however those same spectators are beginning to make predictions around the number of adjustments Yasser Malik will make as a result of this outcome.
- Everyone is hitting. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it!
- Defensively strong game, holding Cairo to only 10 runs - much credit goes to the pitcher
- Was able to score 32 runs despite missing Umair Wasim, playoff MVP of 2018
- Do not get complacent when leading
- Missing key players
- Some players got to see some action at new positions, Jib Khan at SS, Hatf at 3B, Ali at LF. This experience will give Cairo more options later in the season
- When a team loses like this, one of two things can happen. On one hand, self-doubt can creep in, thinking that there are stronger teams out there. On the other hand, this loss can motivate a team to want to get better because getting outscored by 20 is never a good feeling. Last year, towards the end of the season, team Medina was mercied by this same Cordoba team, and we see how that affected Medina afterwards.