Istanbul vs Lahore
With only a few weeks left and the playoff race heating up, week 12 pitted a red hot Lahore team against an always dangerous Istanbul team. Lahore came in to this week as one of the hottest teams and after going winless in their first 5, they have reeled off 3 wins in the last 4 games to put them back in the playoff picture. On the flip side, Istanbul is coming off a game in which they missed out on beating Medina by a half a step at home, but still boasts one of the most dangerous lineups in BSLN.
Week 12 started off with Lahore’s GM Aftab Sheikh not able to make the game, so as usual, sub extraordinaire Hammad Afif was called in again. Seems like week in and week out, Hammad plays for a different team. Istanbul on the other hand came in with 11 out 12 guys (the most they’ve had all year in a given week) ready to play and ready to move up in the standings. Unfortunately, several players called in with minutes until game time with family emergencies (we make duah that nothing was overly serious IA), and 11 quickly turned into 9 players. To further add to Istanbul’s woes, AGM Riyad Ramjaun had to move out from the OF and emergency pitch, which left the OF and the IF scrambling to place players in positions unfortunately they hadn’t had much reps at, not to mention, thin out the OF to only 3 players.
The game started with Istanbul quickly putting up a couple of runs, but once Lahore came up and saw all the green with only 3 OF’s, they quickly turned on the pressure and mercied the boys in red in back to back innings to go up 14-2 off the backs of Hammad Afif and Shahid Saya both hitting big homeruns. The onslaught did not stop there as after taking an inning off from scoring in the 3rd, Lahore put up another 6-spot in the 4th inning; every Lahore player put up a hit while all but 1 recorded an RBI. If there ever was a time when an entire team took over, this was the game. The shorthanded boys in red did the best they could, but with so much inconsistency on the defensive side, the team morale was already down and reflected on the offensive side, with the team gaining only 7 hits on the day and 5 runs. After 5 innings, the game was mercifully called off, as those in attendance could see that Istanbul’s management were not a happy bunch and once again left to question what they could possibly do to turn things around.
With 3 games to go, Lahore seems to have figured things out. More importantly, they seem to have found a diamond in the rough in Salman Ahmed. Ahmed’s ability to pitch effectively, allowed them to add another big bat at the trade deadline and the team seems to be running on all cylinders. Istanbul on the other hand can’t seem to piece things together. One of the most talented teams on papers, issues like attendance could be the thing that ultimately decides their fate. The decisive game for the men in red could come on the makeup day (September 3rd, 2019) against Cairo with a potential winner goes to the playoffs game. Stay tuned as things are only heating up.
Medina vs. Cairo
Our final game of the evening had some major implications as both teams are desperately trying to pick up a win in hopes of making the playoffs. Cairo is currently sitting in last place and a loss could really hurt their chances of making the playoffs. As for Medina, they’ve been struggling with their bats recently and have been dropping in the standings. They cant seem to wake their bats up and with the playoffs a couple of games away, things are getting too close for comfort. Let’s see how last nights game played out
Cairo went to bat first as the visiting team and put up 2 quick runs to starts the game off. Medina’s bats didn’t start off well as the opening period for them was quick but their outfield was on point tonight. Nothing got by Center fielders Zane Sheikh and Hamid Malik as they were nearly perfect on the night catching anything that came their way. Cairo on the flip side also had a fantastic day on defense as Captain Yasser Malik had some nice catches which really helped their team shift the momentum at times. This game was straight up a defensive battle as both teams were struggling to get some decent hits. Dr. Zia Beg put on a clinic ensuring Cairo’s top guys weren’t getting the pitches they wanted. His counter part, Miqdad Jaffer also had a great pitching game keeping Medina’s offense at bay. The only bat that seemed to be working on Medina’s side was that of Zane Sheikh who is also dealing with a back injury… for someone in that much pain, he shouldn’t have been the best player out there as he kept Medina in the game with his solid hitting. Lets fast forward this game to the bottom of the 7th where the game was tied at 4 a piece. Medina’s top came up but wasn’t able to win this game. The final play is one that Medina will remember for a long time. Bases juiced, winning run at 3rd, 1 out. All Hamid Malik had to do was hit a simple sac fly and Medina would’ve won. Instead he hit a grounder to Hot shot short stop Ali Chaudhry who is virtually automatic from there. He picked up the double play ending this game in a tie. Although Medina as a team didn’t bat well all game, Hamid Malik is hanging his head and takes the blame for this tie as he could’ve easily won this game for his team. After this tie, Medina still sits at 4th place and will look to turn their luck around against the highflying Cordoba. Cairo now barely occupies that 5th spot as Istanbul trails them by a run differential of just 2 runs. Playoffs are almost here and this race just keeps getting tighter and tighter. Look for Cairo to come out firing against a hot Lahore squad with their backs up against the wall. 2 games left, 1 team wont make it. who’s it gona be?? We’ll find out soon enough
Summary of Main Stats:
Ali Chaudhry – 3 / 4, 2 RBI’s
Yasser Malik – 2 / 4, RBI
Baseer Yasseen – 2 / 4, RBI
Zane Sheikh – 3 / 3, 3 Runs
Mo Kala – 3 / 4, RBI
Zahid Merchant – 2 / 4, RBI, 1 Run