Mamluks (@ Abbasids - 2:00PM BW1; @ Sultans - 3:30PM BW2)
The Mamluks returned from a 1-1 opener to another 1-1 re-opener after the Canada day weekend break. The team traditionally known as the green machine felt optimistic after their second straight double header split. Jibran Waqar continued to dazzle making every play a routine play at short stop, though sources indicate that the team has implemented two-a-day training sessions to sharpen their defensive reads. Reports suggest that for every defensive miscue for the remainder of the season made by a player, will cost them a kabob from the team's weekly snack pool.
Defensive miscues aside, the team's trustee Rizwan Merchant states that the team is in optimal position, and that the Mamluks will continue to iron out the kinks in preparation for the playoffs. Taher Mirza echoed the same sentiments along with champion Yu-Choo stating that the BSL season is nothing but one big practice for the big stage. It is also rumoured that W K has provided specific input on a new fitness regimen to have the green machine not only well oiled, but more efficient than ever. Additionally, Yasser Zia has offered the team free Hijama appointments to keep them fresh for the weeks ahead.
Speaking of the weeks ahead, the Mamluks face off against the Abbasids at Birchwood 1 to kick off the week. They will be tasked with trying to tame the 0-4 Lion men that are expected to not lack any motivation, or hunger. In their second match up, the Mamluks square off against the Sultans in a season opener rematch, where the Luks came out on top. Expect a highly competitive bout on both occasions as the Mamluks will take on extremely driven opponents.
Abbasids (Vs. Mamluks - 2:00PM BW1; @ Ayyubids - 3:30PM BW1)
The Abbasids are coming off another disappointing week and start to their season. The 0-4 record sings a similar tune to past years, despite an entirely new roster. They had a rough go this past week making errors upon errors which led to giving up an astounding 47 runs while only being able to muster a 15 spot. Sameer Rafique has been doing his part, living up to the #1 overall selection for a second straight year. However, GM Ahmad Hussain has gone on record suggesting he is upset with his own poor play stating that he has to do better. He will go into week 3 playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Despite the slow start, reports indicate that the Abbasids are still positive and firmly believe that a playoff spot is theirs to lose. The team boasts a remarkable 9 players partaking in both BSL, as well as BSL Nights. Sources indicate that on top of the double dosage of real game play action for the Abbasids, an increase in practice time will also be in store. They hope to shake off last week, while welcoming back Atif Akhtar for week 3. They are also looking for the bats to come alive, with Zuhair Fancy bringing his average up, game by game, along with Akif Waheed. Watch for Fuzail Thakur to potentially break out as well as he has been hitting the ball well...just into fielders.
This week, the men in Orange will square off against the Mamluks and Ayyubids. Expect a motivated and hungry Abbasids squad as they take on perennial MVP candidate Jibran Waqar and a strong Mamluk team. That may be just what the doctor ordered for the Abbasids to rise to the occasion. They then face the Ayyubids in a rematch from week 1, where the latter just eked out a victory. As mentioned, expect a pack of lions to be on the prowl in week 3.
Sultans (Vs. Ayyubids - 2:00PM BW2; Vs. Mamluks - 3:30PM BW2)
1 1 2. Those numbers do not represent the classic aughts R&B group, but the Sultans rankings in team hits (1st), runs (1st) and average (2nd). Seeing that would lead you to believe the Sultans were relaxed… just chillin, milkin’ ‘em, Top Billin…and have the best record, but sitting at .500, the squad hopes to come out of this weekend building on top of those W’s.
The Sultans are coming off a week in which they were short and had to borrow a catcher from the opposing team in order to compete. You would think that they would come into Week 3 with their full roster ready to play and look at a Sunday Sweep but nooOOOOOoooooo…GM Shamil Khadaroo is avoiding flying bottles and car fires in England after their elimination from the World Cup while Saoud Ramjaun still hasn’t figured out how to magically glue his broken toe back together. Also missing from the squad are stars Shaheen Limbada and Faisal Khan, who will be in Muskoka living that Robin Leach ‘Lifestyles Of The Brown and Famous’ life, Omer Chaudhry, who will be attempting to rescue his visiting family at the Buffalo border and AK, the assumption being that he is looking to start his own survival TV show to rival his nemesis, Bear Grilles. With only six players available, the league GMs were kind enough to grant a special exemption to the Sultans in order for them to obtain two substitute players so they will be able to play. Joining the team are BSL Nights player Hamid Malik and former Sultans stud Ali Nazir.
The are several keys to victory for the Wonderful Dudes in Whites and Blues. The drastic turnaround experienced by the Brother of all Brothers, Zain Malik, could be integral. Having a week one to forget, Malik put his headphones in, stared in the mirror and played 8 mile but with his own motivating lyrics (‘…Tid is sweaty, last week’s over and Zain is ready, there’s vomit on his jersey already, stupid samosas with only veggies…’) which led to a perfect 5 for 5 start in week 2. Khizer ‘The Human Scissor’ Channa, so called because of the way he cuts the bat, keeps impressing everyone in the league with his continuing improvement. The return of Hassan Chaudry 2.0 will be a boost to the offense as he will bring the momentum from going 3 for 4 in his last game. ‘Killer’ Kamil Haider has performed like one of the best SS’ in the league and will look to be tested early and often. He also nearly doubled his average from Week 1 to 2 so he will be looking to feed that momentum. Taqi ‘The Versatile One’ Ahmed has shown the ability to play well at multiple positions and has increased his stock league wide. His contribution will be crucial to any Sultan success.
Will they get ahead early and become the Supreme Sultans or will they fall behind and have to play the role of Rallyin’ Stallions. Sunday will tell…
Ayyubids (@ Sultans - 2:00PM BW2; Vs. Abbasids - 3:30PM BW1)
The Ayyubids have done nothing but surprised so far but critics aren’t taking back what they expected just yet. They want to wait one more week to see if they are for real. One thing is for sure; they are here to compete. Viewing the playoffs as spectators last year, the Jabbars vowed #NeverAgain. There are a number of contributing factors for The Ayyu’s early success. The combination of consistent pitching in Ali Jabbar paired with former faces Ahmed Ammad and Imran ‘The Maniac’ Merchant have propelled them to the upper echelon in this young season. Exclusive footage from TMZ of Umair ‘Shriek’ Sheikh leaving a psychologist’s office have led this reporter to believe that the new calm demeanor he is displaying might be here to stay. Mohamed ‘Klaus Fuchs’ Kala has turned out to be a reliable, dependable batter who loves his team very much. Moh can always be found on the bleachers at Birchwood eating the Sultan’s samosas and discussing the Ayyubids chances at the championship this year…
…The Ayyubids are to be taken seriously though…let’s remember this team is one opponent walk off away from being undefeated and leading the league standings. They come up against a fully firing Sultans who will put their defenses and ‘legit-ness’ to the test followed by a hungry Abbasids team that won’t be as easy as the last game. A 2-0 run this week should be good enough to take the top spot in the standings and silence all that doubted.
Ottomans (@ Mughals - 5:15PM BW2; Vs. Seljuqs - 6:45PM BW1)
After scoring a massive 35 runs in the opening week, the Ottomans followed it up with just 12 in the next. We still don’t believe they put up just 3 runs in a game... They did however, manage to stretch out a 9-8 win against the Ayyubids on a Zia Ali walk-off homer. Some say he is still celebrating. The Ottomans still hit 6 homeruns on the day which should carry more weight than 12-runs and management knows it. They lead the league with 13 in the category. Having seen Owais Ansari perform in his debut week, GMs couldn’t accept that he was available until the middle of the second round. We suspect someone gave him some serious nazar as the rookie star struggled at the plate last time out. Taha Iqbal on the other hand seems to only excel (Masha Allah) batting a league best .833 and digging deep at third to silence those of you who questioned the 6th overall selection. Who doesn’t want him on their team? Taha is like a pumpkin pie with ‘hari mirch’; he’s the sweetest and most classy guy to be around but when its game time, his bat gets super hot when he yells YEAAAA COME ONR!!! Anyways, it ain’t an Ottomans rumours post if we don’t talk about Rehan Ahmad. Yea he’s already killing it again, 5 homers, 11 Rbis, slugging 2.0, but his best stats are # of diamonds set-up, # of games scored, a reason why the league is the way it is. Priceless.
The Ottomans take on The Mughals in a fight for first place and both teams will be ready for the intense occasion given its significance in the long-run. We expect to see the week 1 Ottomans show up especially if they want any wins this week. The second-game Seljuqs will be that much stronger this time around. A pivotal week for the Royal Blues, that’s for sure.
Seljuqs (@ Nasrids - 5:15PM BW1; @ Ottomans - 6:45PM BW1)
The Seljuqs are already late for the show losing 3 of their last 4 games and will have to step on it right away in order to get good seats at the BSL playoffs. They will be without workhorse Michael Arlitt for a couple more weeks but possess enough fire power in the ranks to hammer in those wins. The GMs are leading by example and working those hammers with Umair Jabbar and Omer Dharuk pounding the long ball and collecting 10 and 11 RBIs respectively. The pounding was literal, as an Umair homerun found the foot of a granny who was taken as collateral for dem RBIs (she was ok Alhamdulilah). Scoring runs however, hasn’t been problematic for the red bulls who have put up 50 in 4 games (2 short from league best); the concern comes from the number of runs given up (55). The squad knows they must be better collectively and have taken the matter to extra practice with determination. Experts took notice of the team’s sluggish performance in the first games of both double headers and management will take action to pump the team tires before taking the field this weekend. Saad G has been pumped since his debut leading the team in batting average and getting the nod at third in Mike’s absence. The GMs got the Saad signing absolutely right and the league is starting the see how well Umair has drafted. It comes down to how well he can get them all to gel and make them believe they are worthy of the title.
The Seljuqs square up against the hard-hitting Sultans and Ottomans this week which will surely burden their defenses that have been lackluster thus far. Limiting runs will be the key to victory against both opponents as they look to bounce back with a big 2-0 and increase their parity in the league.
Mughals (Vs. Ottomans - 5:15PM BW2; @ Nasrids - 6:45PM BW2)
The Mughals sit near the top of the standings with an impressive 2-0 week, driven by their pitching and defense. It was also a bit of a coming out party for their bats as Aqib Khokhar placed a few solid line drives, along with some missiles which were snatched away from him. Keep an eye on him, as he is acclimating himself to the league nicely. Believe it or not, the reigning champs had their first extra base hit of the year, letting the league know, as Ismail Akhtar rounded the bases on his first homerun of the year.
However, as the page turns to week 3, some controversy has arisen as reports indicate that brain trust Zahid Merchant had a brain fart, while chanting a Mamluk themed battle cry. This may suggest that he may be contemplating joining his brother's team alongside good friend and MVP Jibran Waqar. To further complicate the situation, Zahid's bromance partner, Nadeem Hussain was reportedly found having a single milkshake, with two straws; one for himself, and another for Rehan Ahmad. Is drama brewing in the land of the Mughals? Or is all of this just ‘rumours’? Regardless, the Mughals are 3-1.
Week 3 brings on the aforementioned MVP candidate Rehan Ahmad and the Ottomans. The two teams are ranked #1 and #2 and separated by only 1 run in the differential column. This will be a matchup to keep an eye on, for both competitive and dramatic purposes. They then square off against the Nasrids, in another finals rematch.
Nasrids (Vs. Seljuqs - 5:15PM BW1; Vs. Mughals - 6:45PM BW2)
The Nasrids come off an interesting week where they squeaked past the Mamluks through a few gifts, and then got edged out in a close match with the Ayyubids. The team remains optimistic still and looks to build off their 2-2 start. Their heavy hitters are doing their thing and the pitching has been keeping them afloat; however, the steady and calming influence of Asim Gauhar is starting to settle in and permeate through the team. Reports indicate they are in zen mode as Jav Ahmed has decided to take the team to the spa to add to the calmness of the squad.
The additional TLC they seem to be receiving is what seems to be a driving force behind Salar Rasoul's return to BSL. He has been diving all over the place, in his conscientious defensive efforts. His bat has been a bit of a lightning rod as he has hit well, but not placed his hits as well. Time will give Salar the ability to control his thunderous bat. Aftab Sheikh has also been a remarkable presence. The GM of Team Lahore in BSL Nights is bringing his stellar defense and a consistent approach to the plate. This Nasrids team is a team to watch out for as everyone seems to be contributing in some way or another. Their task now is to get it going at the same time and be more consistent.
Week 3 brings the Nasrids a hungry Seljuks team. Having picked up their first win last week, the Seljuks have now experienced a win in the 2018 season. Expect them to give the Nasrids everything they can handle to get another. Oh and the second game is a rematch against the reigning champs...the one's that took the throne from them last year...the Mughals. No biggie.