Week 9 Rumours

We have reached the end of the regular season, and for the first time in BSL history, it comes with little to no drama. All the playoff matchups are locked in as teams look to play for momentum heading onto the big stage next weekend. Here's what is on and popping in the final installment of the regular season rumours for 2016.

Sultans vs Mamluks - 4:00PM BW1

The Sultans have been the warhorses at BSL, just as their franchise logo suggests. They have come together with all the talent at their disposal to put in performances that have forced other teams to get dirty for their wins. Since the Ramadan break, the Sultans recorded 3 losses and 1 win but kept a differential of -5 which included a matchup against the high flying Mughals. The Stallions have managed to stay in games and position themselves to win, but have lacked that clutch hit or game saving play, though they have definitely impressed more than their record shows. We didn't forget the upset win over Ottomans, who they will meet in the post-season to prove they can do it again. But what about Tanseer "Robocop" Khawaja. Somebody check the brand of his battery and stock up because this guy is still on par with players in their prime. It seems he's got even better on mound and has start adding homers (4) to his BSL profile which critics would have never predicted, his value continuously rises. Shamil Khadaroo has also impressed in his rookie season and has contributed greatly to the squad's success (in making post-season). The Sultans close out the regular season against the league best Mamluks, which will give them a good run for when it will matter in the playoffs.

The great Mamluks met their fate last weekend which put an end to their 100% season and gave doubts to critics who already crowned them as champions. It’s clear that the team had a below par performance on paper, but it was raining homeruns there at Birchwood 2. The Green Machine put it over too many times and were punished by the homerun differential killing their momentum every inning. The post-season will in its entirety be played on Birchwood 1 which takes away from what happened last Sunday – the Mamluks are still the Mamluks and are still the favorites by far. Shahzad Ahmed and Omer Chaudhry seem like they can hit homers in their sleep while Jibran Waqar, Hassan Chaudhry, and Taher Mirza can play the field with their eyes closed. Rizvan Merchant has to try hard at the mound but he’s still pretty good at it. This is just a reminder how stacked this team is. They await either the Seljuqs and Ayyubids in the semis, while they will look to chalk up more homers in the last game of the season against the Sultans.

Ottomans vs Ayyubids – 5:30PM BW1

The Ottomans pull their way back up to third and lock it up with 2 ambitious victories last week. The ball club is known for their ability to keep their opponents in reach even when their bats aren’t clicking and wait for Rehan the Great to drive the bus home. Rehan Ahmad once again hits a walkoff homer to put his team in the W column in a game that was slipping away. The juggernaut will have his eye on the homerun title leading with 13, but only two ahead of the current runners up. The one-two punch of Rehan and Shaheen Limbada was once again seen on different ends of the order with Shoaib Gaya sweeping in between but we figure the Ottomans are experimenting for optimal results. A K has been standing the mound well and allowing his field to make the plays while he can focus more on chipping away at the plate at number 2. The Navy and Red are no doubt a dangerous team but most of their danger comes from Rehan and Shaheen as the lineup can be inconsistent at times, but their defense is where they make up for it. They take on the Ayyubids this week to charge up for the Sultans and avenge an embarrassing loss last time out.

The Ayyubids suffered two losses and a huge blow on their way to the playoffs last weekend forcing them to take an early pit-stop and reroute through the Seljuqs and Mamluks to play for the cup. Star pitcher Ali Jabbar was allowed to take vacation days during these crucial games causing league viewers to point fingers at GM Umer Jabbar (who happens to be his brother). The other brother, Umair Jabbar, has been a leader for the team on and off the field with his performances and dedication, but all superstars must receive special treatment these days and pressure is on Umer to strike a balance. The blow definitely came from the mound last week, where Zain Khilji stood for both games. It’s not that he couldn’t pitch, it was more his mentality that he can be a Roy Halladay on his first outing with no practice. He also needs to control his emotions if he wants to pitch. This comes to show how valuable Ali is to the team especially after he pulled out 2 wins with an 8 player squad the week before. The Ayyubids bats have been very inconsistent this season – it’s either on or off with no between. Last week they had 17 hits verses the Seljuqs and 5 against the Nasrids. On their “on” days, this team can really play the long ball with 7 players going over the fence more than once this season. Umair leads with 7, while Khilji and Ahmad Ammad follow with four apiece. The Ayyubids will take on the Ottomans before the post-season and will look to gain some momentum against a quality team. Umair has to hit another homer to satisfy his 8 homer season quota.

Abbasids vs Mughals – 7:00PM BW1

The Abbasids had another rough season at BSL registering only two wins this season with one game remaining. Similar to the Nasrids, the team hosted some great talent but struggled to put in all-rounded team performances. They made the Sultans work for their win last week, bolstering a late rally that fell just short of a comeback. GM Ahmed Hussain will be upset with this season's results and will face a tough choice on who to bring back for the Lions. We can only assume he has already began to think about it. The question is whether he will look to put together another Expos team or change to safer strategy. The Abbasids will take on the Mughals to close their season and try to prove they should have made the playoffs. Last thing they want is to finish last and drive away their supporters and ticket sales.

The Mughals came through with another pair of wins and made a bold statement last week that echoed…“D! J! ZAHID! WE DA BEST!” In the victory that gave them no real ground in the standings but meant no less than a must win playoff game, the Mughals came in with the tiger in their eyes, and fire in their veins. They showed the league the Mamluks can be beaten and how typical of the blues, beating them through club-made intangibles. The team is still sitting on cloud nine with enough high to perhaps reunite them with the BSL cup. The top order was unstoppable and the life of their bats must have taken a steep decline. Mohammed Ali Pasha enjoyed the free ride going 0 for 5 at the plate. Sorry, I guess he contributed on defense. But Ismail Akhter…this guy is a beast and he grew too big, too fast. Back at the draft, GMs questions if this guy could make routine plays and hit some green. Yeah, he doesn’t hit green because he’s hitting the brown of the rusted train tracks behind the fences at Birchwood. With 11 homers, the homerun title may just be out of reach but we know he can smash a couple a game. The Mughals take on the Abbasids in the last week of the season where they come with the same intensity to carry into the post-season. Someone’s gotta pour some ice water on these guys.

Nasrids vs Seljuqs – 8:30PM BW1

The Nasrids won a game last week! Against the Ayyubids! Their rivals! We still wonder what this team could have been, but they still have plenty of talent to show. Bilal Javed, Nirvaan Latif and N K have put up great numbers at the plate this season and will all play important roles for their respective teams next year (insha’Allah) as Usama Mahmood and Osman Buttar are expected to core the Nasrids. There was a glimmer of hope to make the post-season coming into last week’s games having to win 3 of the 3 remaining games, but they fell short in the first against the Ottomans. Buttar’s batting average plummeted as fast as the Nasrids playoff hopes and management will be wary of what happens come next season. The Nasrids now play for dignity to prevent their dynasty from finishing last for 2 years in a row. They will play the Seljuqs who are on the rise and certainly expected to come out on top, but rumour has it the word forfeit is in the air as there is yet another family wedding approaching and hosting 6 of the 12 Nasrids players. The 2017 Nasrids will come out stronger with a definite change in strategy.

The Seljuqs continued their strong form putting up two solid performances against a pair of top half teams in the Ayyubids and Ottomans. The Eagles have definitely been the most improved team at BSL and they are really showing they can compete with the bigger teams in the league. Taha Iqbal and Imran Merchant have been putting in work at the plate going for the long ball or settling for a single when they prefer. GM Ibrahim Sardar is the serenity of the ball club, letting the bat and glove make his statements and keeping all the hovering energy stable and in control. The team will find the Ayyubids in the first round of the post-season and will have to be at their best as the win won’t come as easy as the last. The angry birds welcome back Sameer Rafique to their mix to solidify their field and add some pop in the line-up. They take on the Nasrids in the last game of the season and will look to continue their success into the playoffs.