Istanbul vs Cairo
In the 1st makeup game of the evening, BSL Nights were provided their first “unofficial” playoff game with the two bottom teams facing off. With an Istanbul win, super Thursday would be set up with all teams with a chance at the playoffs. A Cairo win would eliminate Istanbul and super Thursday would be about playoff seeding amongst the remaining 5 teams.
With the boys in red facing elimination, unfortunately, ALL 3 Ramjauns were missing in action this week, including AGM Riyad Ramjaun, however, GM Zain Malik was able to secure the services of Taher “T-Man” Mirza as a substitute for this do or die game. On the flip side of things, Cairo themselves were missing a few top guys but were able to secure the services of some of the top subs this league has to offer in Zain Khilji and Ali Nazir. Cairo started off strong and put up 7 runs in the first 2 innings, but not to be outdone, Istanbul came roaring back with 8 runs of their own. The game would be back and forth affair, with Istanbul up 11-9 after 4 innings. Unfortunately, this is where the wheels fell off, and a misplay at 3rd base would cause both teams to get chippy and would both receive multiple warnings for arguing. In the spirit of Brotherhood, cooler heads prevailed in the end, but with Istanbul now playing annoyed, Cairo quickly put up 5 runs while Istanbul would not score again.
With the loss, Istanbul is officially eliminated from playoff contention while Cairo will now fight for their lives to not have to play the wildcard game. A 3rd place seeding is still in the realm of possibility, but they will need to beat Medina on super Thursday, while also getting help from others. Meanwhile, GM Zain Malik is left pondering what went wrong. His team on paper were one of the deadliest hitting teams, but defensively, things never materialized. Coupled with a few bad breaks during the season, the boys in red will look to play spoiler on Thursday, while unfortunately, not playing for something themselves.
Lahore vs Medina
In our 2nd makeup game of the evening we have 2 teams trying to fight for that 3rd place in the standings to avoid playing an unpredictable Cairo squad in the wild card game.
Medina started off shutting Lahore down in the first inning and scored 4 runs to start this game off. W K and Zane Sheikh were both hot coming into this game as both picked up right where they left off with a pair of deep Homers. W K is really embracing this patience thing as he looks like he’s found his form just before heading into the playoffs. It was nice of Zane Sheikh to grace us with his presence as he came off a flight that landed at 715 and still made it in time for his first at bat following up W K’s homer with a deep shot of his own. He would later have another homerun but it would count as an out instead since Medina was over the HR limit.
Medina continued to score runs until the 4th inning where they had a comfortable lead with a score of 9-3. As soon as Medina’s bats slowed down, Lahore took that opportunity to start a run of their own, storming back to tie this game. There were great performances by Salim Jaichi and Aftab Khan as they combined for 5/6 at bats and 6 RBI’s. On the defensive end, Salman Ahmed held it down on the mound and did what he could to keep his team in the game. Amir Khalil was on point as he made some nice grabs in RF not letting anything get by him. Medina had an opportunity to close this game out in the final inning but yet again left runners on the bag resulting in another tie. That’s 3 ties where Medina left multiple runners on the bag. If Medina expects to make another deep run this year, they need to learn to close out games especially when they have the upper hand. Despite Lahore missing key players they played great against Medina as they rallied to tie this one up. This point will be huge for both teams as we head into Super Thursday. With Istanbul out of the picture, everyone has secured a chance to play again next Thursday but who will play in the wild card game? Nothing is confirmed yet but we’ll find out when that clock strikes 11pm tonight.
Cordoba vs Damascus
Cordoba and Damascus met each other for the third time this year as number 1 and number 2 ranked teams battled each other to secure the first seed. Damascus came into this game confident as they dominated the previous two match ups. They experimented with their batting line up as the GM, Safwan was the last batter and had four different players play the critical short stop position. Cordoba were missing both their GM, Chu and AGM, Billa and had speedster Taher as their substitute.
Damascus took the early lead, courtesy of some timely hit by Ahmad Ammad, Tanseer Bahi and Imran Qureshi. However, some sloppy fielding in the 3rd and 4th inning by Damascus and a clutch in the park homerun by Umair Wasim led to Cordoba taking the 12 -7 lead. Damascus made another little run in the 6th inning but it was too little too late. Damascus was able to stay in the game despite their underwhelming fielding displaying on the day, which shows why they are the Number 1 seed. Their middle order is clicking at the right time with Imran, Talal and Muzamil all going ¾ on the day. As expect, Ahmad Ammad continued to have a monster year and hit the only HR of the game. He is now almost doubling the amount of HR hit by anyone else in the league.
Cordoba also had a good day at the plate with Saad, Umair, Suleman, Fasil and Hamza all hitting over .500. Saad also had a good day with the glove and showed he is capable of hold down CF position. Lastly, Hamaza showed why he is still in contention for the pitcher of the year award by getting another W for his team.