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Week 7 Rumours

Two weekends left in BSL season 4 and so much is still at stake. Who will finish top 2 in the league and earn themselves a bye? Who will grab the final playoff spot? Will there be any more shockers or walk off wins? One thing we say for sure, there will be home runs at Birchwood 2 so hold on to your hats (or caps) as this is one weekend you don't want to miss before the finale! Let's breakdown the week 7 matchups: 
 
Abbasids (vs. Sultans – 2:00PM BW1; @ Mamluks – 3:30PM BW1)

The Abbasids have to do some soul searching to get out of this slide and into a playoff position. The orange cats will have their biggest weekend of the season that will decide if they will be playing or on vacation in September. GM Ahmad Hussain bought pitcher Hamza Waheed a season pass to Canada's Wonderland to play ball toss all day expecting some big prizes and some consistency on the mound. Ahmad was happy to see Hamza bring home a big plush cat which has been 1 of the few positives to their season. Assistant GM Rameez Siddiqi hasn't skipped a beat even though he has taken on a bigger role as a pitcher and being the team's only offensive representation in the top 20. Everyone on the Abbasids is calling this weekend to be the breakout party for 2016 Offensive player of the year Omer Chaudhry because after this Sunday, there is no turning back. The Abbasids are still mathematically still alive in the playoff hunt but they will need to win all of their final four games and hope for some favourable results from the other games. A single loss will assuredly eliminate them from the second season. They face a tough schedule this week against the Sultans and the Mamluks who are both looking to punch their ticket to the post season.
 
Sultans (@ Abbasids – 2:00PM BW1; vs. Mughals – 3:30PM BW2)

The Stallions had to fight through adversity last weekend without their pitcher Tanseer 'Robocop' Khawaja, shortstop Rafique Chaudhury and a catcher or rover but still came out with something to show going 1-1 and preserving their presence in the middle of the pack. Rookie GM Shamil Khadaroo didn't let anything phase him as he continued to lead by example and continue his impressive run with his 5th home run of the season last weekend. There were fans of the GM here all the way from England yelling "SIX" when he hit a dinger over the fence. The return of ace pitcher and Assistant GM Tanseer Bhai will be huge when facing the Abbasids and the Mughals as Tans always puts extra ghee on his glove when facing the best pitchers in the league. The Sultans can really need Taher Mirza to start finding the sweet spot especially with rumours that Raf might be missing again this week. Zain Malik also had a break-out performance (no pun intended) last week and is driven to help his team continue to put the metal to the pedal. The newly assembled GM trio have been pushing all the right buttons and getting the best of everyone to really showcase the team game. Two wins on Sunday will get the Sultans get over .500 mark and punch their ticket to the post season. 

Mughals (vs. Mamluks – 2:00PM BW2; @ Sultans – 3:30PM BW2)

The Badshah's decision to withdraw from the mid-season tournament was probably the best thing for the team to rejuvenate any blemishes as they got 3 out 4 points last week and find themselves behind the Ottomans. The older bodies on the baby blues got some time on the massage table to get their bodies right for the late season push. Even with the big final inning collapse versus the Seljuqs last week, they were able to defeat the Ottomans and move within 1 point from the top in the league. GM and pitcher Zahid Merchant will really be put to the test facing two top pitchers in the league in Tanseer big bhai and Rizvan small bhai. W K has really turned it around with his new team in baby blue. The second half has already been great for the Mughals thus far and will continue to be so if players like Nadeem Hussain and rookie Khizer Channa can continue to turn their bats around to keep themselves in the running as the top team in the league. Bilal Javed and Ismail Akhter showed they can hit homeruns on any field and with their final four games on BW2, they should be able to add to their homerun totals. Can the Mughals win both games and leap frog the ottomans this week? They start off with a crucial battle against the Mamluks which could at least lock up #2 seed for them. 

Mamluks (@ Mughals – 2:00PM BW2; vs. Abbasids – 3:30PM BW1)

The defending champs have built up plenty of momentum after losing their opening 3 games of the season and responding with a 6-1 run and a mid-season tournament win. They will look to edge closer to the Mughals in the standings with a win as they play their last game at Birchwood 2 for the regular season. Starting pitcher and GM Rizvan Merchant needs to be more masterful than ever, as the league has taken notice that he has been giving up the most homeruns in the league. Apparently, he is still hearing screams of the big walk off infield single last week versus the Seljuqs. The success in the mid-season tournament was exactly what Assistant GM Hassan Chaudhry needed as he had a phenomenal week at the plate last week. The timing is perfect as the season gets deeper and post-season only a few weeks away. The other Assistant GM Jibran Waqar is already firing on all cyclinders plus turbo and nitrous as the Mamluks hope the Jibs Tank has enough gas to last him through the post-season. Zain Khilji (aka Green Giant) has rejuvenated himself and has stayed healthy with the green machine. Rumour has it the Mamluks have banned Khilji from playing soccer and are now reaping the benefits from his upped performances. The Mamluks bottom order has done a stellar job of keeping their offense moving and are the reason for their high run totals. Aftab ‘bhai’ Sheikh has carried on his improved play from the tournament and continues to hold things together in the lower order. Although the Mamluks were set back by the rowdy Seljuqs last week, they will look to continue their hot streak and close the gap on the Mughals and Ottomans to push for that playoffs bye.

Seljuqs (vs. Ottomans – 5:00PM BW1; @ Ayyubids – 6:30PM BW1)

The Seljuqs have been on a rollercoaster of emotions all season and these past three weeks were no exception. The Seljuqs are currently at the top of roller coaster. The team losing their final two games going into the mid-season break left GM Ibrahim Sardar scratching his head. The team entered the mid-season tournament as underdogs but defeat both the Nasrids and the Ottomans earning their birth to the final. Then last weekend, the Seljuqs pulled off a walk-off upset against the Mamluks and then came back from a 10-3 deficit in the bottom of the final inning to shock the Mughals with a tie. Are their pitching woes finally behind them as the GM himself has taken pitching duties upon himself? Haris Mallick is having a career year in the field and at the plate, batting just under .600. It is also nice to see Michael Arlitt and Zuhair Fancy turn the corner with their team in red. The team will continue looking at Zia Ali and A R who both had huge homers last weekend to take the load off the big bats so they can move up the standings this week. Will the Seljuqs use the big momentum builder from last weekend and fight out more wins to solidify a playoff position? They face a difficult task against the Ottomans followed by the Ayyubids. The Seljuqs right now sit without the tie breaker against the Ayyubids (first tie-breaker is wins) so if the Seljuqs lose to the Ottomans, their matchup against the Ayyubids will become a must win for the boys in red. 

Ottomans (@ Seljuqs – 5:00PM BW1; vs. Nasrids – 6:30PM BW2)
 
The once perfect Ottomans had their first setback of the season by losing to M&M (Mamluks & Mughals) last week but still maintain their status as top dogs. Now with their first speed bump and the pressure of a perfect season behind them, the team can focus on fine tuning themselves in the final four games of the season. GM Hashim Ghazi is still away as he has changed his facebook status to married (mA). Rumors are that members of the team asked their GM to petty cash their flight with the newly couple for bonding purposes but it was shot down right away. Coach, Assistant GM, and cheerleader Rehan Ahmad has really been leading by example with his .771 batting average, 27 hits and already hitting the cycle in one of his games but will be missing out this weekend while he is living his field of dreams moment in Iowa. Their new top order of Atif Khan and Sameer Rafique, whom have combined for 40 hits, will have to shoulder more responsibility with their leaders away. Ahmad Ammad might get his first chance to hit clean-up. The team is expected to welcome back Shaheen Limbada who missed the first BSL games of his career last week. Rookie Zia ‘Doc’ Beg had his first subpar Sunday of the season and will be important to see how the old rookie responds this week. The Ottomans have already locked up a playoff spot and should have the #2 seed in the bag but now find themselves fighting to hold on to the #1 seed.

Nasrids (vs. Ayyubids – 5:00PM BW2; @ Ottomans – 6:30PM BW1)

The Nasrids have finally learnt to move up in the standings as they earned their first 2-0 weekend in franchise history. GM Kashif Waheed and the rest of the team are pleased with the 3 wins in the last 4 games after 3 walk off loses earlier in the season. The Nasrids captain Nirvaan Latif has taken on the offensive responsibility while Assistant GM Osman Buttar has helped shape up the defense. Both have been leading the pack with batting averages of .594 and .568 respectively. With no big family weddings, the team has more time to hit the cages and the results have shown. Rookie sensation Salman Ahmad (no not Imran Khan's right hand man) has sprayed hit a batting average of just under .600. Joining Salman are Nirvaan, Osman and Zaid Ghansar to represent 1 / 5th of the top 20 in batting average. With Greenbirds members potentially missing this week, the team will really need to rely heavily on Kamil Haider and NK to fill big shoes to keep their playoff spot. Another unanswered question that still lingers for this Sunday is what type of facial hair A K be showcasing from the pitching mound. We predict a groovy goatee. The Nasrids will be hoping the Greenbirds show up for game time as they face off against the Ayyubids in a crucial playoff battle and then the top seed Ottomans. Going 0-2 could be devastating for the team’s playoff chances with only one week to go. 

Ayyubids (@ Nasrids – 5:00PM BW2; vs. Seljuqs – 6:30 BW1)

The Ayyubids also decided to withdraw their team from the mid-season tournament and have been playing 500 ball as they have the whole season. The older brothers GM Umer Jabbar and assistant GM Ali Jabbar went to visit the Queen to try to find some answers and maybe a rishta from a princess for their younger brother but came back empty handed. Speaking of assistant GM Umair Jabbar, he seems to have finally shaken off his early season injury woes and is starting to hit the ball with authority again. Faheem Kotwal also needs to find some 2nd half form to complement the power bats with some speed. Rookie Omar Dhaduk seems to have turned his season around with four homers in as many games but still has a lot to prove in his vital position at short. With a big weekend upcoming at BSL, Omar Dhaduk chose to get married this weekend and it remains to be seen whether Omar and Umair are able to make it back for game time. Even with a split last week, the Ayyubids management are keeping their spirits high as the approach a pivotal Sunday. With Ali Jabbarhitting like a stud, the lower order of the Ayyubids need to step up to give their leadoff hitter an opportunity to drive in runs. Can team 'orange is the new black' pull off two big victories against the two teams they are tied with for the final playoff spot? Two victories this week could lock up the playoffs for the Ayyubids while two loses could see them fall out of the postseason for good.

This is it... the penultimate week... Who will rise? Who will fall? Let the games decide...