Here is what transpired in Week 7. [note: recaps have been written by members of the rumours committee]
Mamluks v Abbasids: After a successful BSL Midseason Tourney, the brothers of summer were back at it, and Birchwood 1 featured the tale of two streaks. The Mamluks were coming into the week with an undefeated streak which sat at seven games, and the Abbasids were still seeking their first win of the season. The game began with little drama, as it was tied 1-1 until the Mamluks busted the game wide open, sporting a 7, 3, and 6 run inning in the 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively. The entire team brought their hitting shoes against Fuzail Thakur as each player reached base via hits, including 8 of their 10 hitting safely at least twice. It was a total team effort that put up 17 runs without star hitter W K. He did come out to support the team, which may have provided them the fuel to bat over .657 as a team. On the other hand, the Abbasids struggled to get on base, hitting only .333, and only put up 2 runs. Their playoff chances, although slim, also came to a screeching halt, although not for a lack of effort. Sameer Rafique did hit a solo home run that left the yard in record time on a frozen rope. Unfortunately for him and the Orange men, it was much too little as the Green Machine overpowered them 17-2.
Final Score: Mamluks - 17, Ottomans - 2; Star of the Game - Taher Mirza, 4-4
Ottomans v Nasrids: The Nasrids squared off against the Seljuqs to kick off week 7 on Birchwood 2. For the first time this season the Seljuqs had their entire squad in the line-up, and they were eager to get going. Umair Jabbar and Omer Dhaduk had their team pumped with their patented screams of “Let’s Go!!!” The Seljuqs came out firing, scoring five runs before the Nasrids could even record an out, including a 3-run homerun off the bat of Umair. The Nasrids, on the other hand, looked sluggish and had a hard time getting anything going over the first three innings, managing to only get 3 baserunners on over the three frames. In the bottom of the third, with the score still 5-0, Umair came to the plate again with two runners on and a chance to extend the lead for the Seljuqs. Ibrahim Sardar induced Jabbar into grounding out to Usama Mahmood to escape unscathed. That looked to awaken the Nasrids momentarily, as Asad Syed started the 4th inning with a solo homerun to finally put the Nasrids on the board. Not to be outdone, the Seljuqs answered back in the bottom half of the inning by scoring a pair of their own due to a couple key errors committed by the Nasrids. Hamza Waheed kept the Nasrids bats pretty much in check all game, allowing only 10 hits and walking no batters for the Win.
Final Score: Nasrids - 3, Seljuqs - 10; Star of the Game - Hamza Waheed
Nasrids v Abbasids: The Nasrids and Abbasids were both in desperate need of SOMEONE stepping up going into their final game of the day. Despite having the makings of a closely contested affair, this game was anything but. Unfortunately for the Orange this was another one-sided loss in what has been a disappointing season. The Spaniards on the other hand finally got to right their ship just before it felt they were sinking rapidly. It was classic all around team effort with almost everyone having a multi-hit game, including a tremendous 7-8 combined output for Hasan Afzal and Asim Waheed. Osman Buttar was thankful to be back in Birchwood 1 as he led the game with 7 RBIs, including two very Buttar-ish home runs. The Nasrids pitching and defense also played its part in making zero errors and keeping the Abbasids at bay for most of the night. Akif Waheed had a solid 2-2 at the plate but didn't get much help from the rest of his teammates as he was left stranded on both occasions. Sameer Rafique and Bilal Javed brought some life to into their team after a slow start with homers to collect 6 runs over the 4th and 5th innings. However, it was a little too late for the Abbasids as the Nasrids offense ran away with this one in the first three innings. The final score of 21-6 means that the Abbasids have officially been eliminated from playoff contention but knowing the character guys on that team, they'll be ready to show up and play hard for their remaining games. The Nasrids meanwhile kept pace with some of the other teams to still be in control of their destiny with a lot to play for over the next two weeks.
Final Score: Nasrids - 21, Abbasids - 6; Star of the Game - Osman Buttar, 4-4
Mamluks v Seljuqs: Both teams entered the game looking to remain perfect on the afternoon. The Seljuqs started the contest much like they did game one by putting up a crooked number in the bottom of the first. Two bloop hits off the bats of Michael Arlitt and Omer Dhaduk got the ball rolling, scoring 2 runs for the Seljuqs. Shoaib Gaya cashed in an RBI single, and Sikandar Aftab walked with the bases loaded to cap off a 6-run inning for the Seljuqs. The Mamluks didn’t even flinch, and used small ball to get themselves on the board off an RBI single from Yasser Zia. The big blow of the 2nd inning was a 3-run homerun from Taher Mirza, his first of the season. Rizvan Merchant would complete the 7 run second with an RBI single. The Seljuqs looked stunned, and the Mamluks, sensing blood in the water, went into attack mode scoring another 7-run max in the top of the third inning topped off by a Jibran Waqar 3-run homer. Dhaduk tried to get the Seljuqs back in the game, smashing a 2-run HR in the bottom half of the third, making the score 14-9 Mamluks after three. In the bottom of the 5th, with the score 16-9 Mamluks, the Seljuqs had a chance to chip into the lead with the bases loaded and only one out, but could only muster a single run. The Mamluks only scored in three of the seven innings, but made sure to make them count. The real story of the day was some defensive miscues by the Seljuqs as well as some questionable defensive positioning.
Final Score: Mamluks - 16, Seljuqs - 10; Star of the Game - Rizvan Merchant, 4-4
Sultans v Ayyubids: This was a match of two powerhouses that were trending in opposite directions, but coming in with similar senses of urgency. The Ayyubids were looking to erase the memory of their first 0-2 weekend of the season and the Sultans were surging and getting much needed help thanks to a full and healthy line-up. The game started with the Sultans throwing the first punch, taking a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to small ball hitting and RBIs from Shameel Khadaroo and Shaheen Limbada. Both teams locked down in the second inning which was scoreless. The Sultans added more cushion to their lead thanks to a 7-run mercy in the third. The Ayyubids would get on the scoreboard thanks to homeruns by Jibran Khan and Ahmad Ammad, but would not score again. The Sultans added more runs in the 5th and 6th inning where they also held their opponents scoreless, leading to the Ayyubids first mercy loss of the season.
Final Score: Sultans - 18, Ayyubids - 3; Star of the Game - Shahzad Ahmed, 5-5
Mughals v Ottomans: Drama! Tension! Rivalry! Game 1 of the afternoon slate between the Mughals and Ottomans provided all this and more. A mere 48 hours after the biggest trade in BSL history, the two teams squared off against one another. With three of the four players involved in the deal playing in this game, the tensions were strong, and the atmosphere was intensely felt throughout the park. Did Hashim Ghazi & Rehan Ahmad pull a coup to finally get them a championship or did Zahid Merchant & co. figure a way out to further secure a spot in the playoffs? The game started off with the Mughals coming out strong and scoring four quick runs to take the lead. The Ottomans, not to be outdone, began hitting the long ball with homeruns from Taha Iqbal (who had two on the day), Ghazi and newly acquired rookie Aqib “Lights Out” Khokhar. Those in attendance noticed the attempted but failed bat flip by Aqib and the staredown to Zahid when he hit the HR. Going to the 4th inning the Ottomans were up 11-7, which was all the Ottomans could put up since all their runs were manufactured through the HR and could not hit any more due to reaching the limit. The Mughals would begin to rally, scoring 11 unanswered in the bottom four innings to win the game 18-11. The newly acquired Mughals, Owais “Big Papi” Ansari and Kashif “Big Dog” Waheed could be heard all day, pumping up their team and raising the spirits of their new team for the big win. Round one in this new rivalry goes to the Badshahs, but Round 2 could be different once the Ottomans prized acquisition Hassan Chaudhry returns from his honeymoon. If these 2 teams meet in the last week of regular season or in the playoffs, grab a seat and get your popcorn ready; this rivalry is just heating up!
Final Score: Mughals - 18, Ottomans - 11; Star of the Game - Ismail Akhter, 5-5
Ayyubids v Mughals: The Mughals came into their second game looking for a sweep after an emotional win over the Ottomans, while the Ayyubids looked to regroup after getting mercied at the hands of the Sultans. The Badshahs started off with a bang courtesy of two runs off Faraaz Alvi and Imran Qureshi singles. The Mughals shut down the Ayyubids top-eight batters before they tagged on five more runs, three of them coming off an Ismail Akhter dinger. It wasn't until the 4th inning when the Ayyubids bats woke up. The Captain himself took matters into his own hands, hitting a monster 3-run homerun to bring them within striking distance. In the 5th inning, Imran Qureshi's triple would score three more for the Mughals to give them a 10-5 lead. Ahmad Ammad would hit a 2-run homerun to bring it at 10-7 going into the top of the 7th. The Ayyubids bats rallied for three runs to level the score heading into the bottom half. Newly acquired Mughal Owais Ansari led off with a double, moved over to third on a sac fly. He was then brought home by the other new Mughal Kashif Waheed, as the Ottoman-turned-Mughals made an immediate impact to walk off the game. In a stunning turn of fortune, the Mughals go 2-0 against a pair of top three teams in the league. The Ayyubids had their second rough Sunday and have now dropped four in a row.
Final Score: Ayyubids - 10, Mughals - 11; Star of the Game - Imran Qureshi, 3-4
Sultans v Ottomans: After doing damage in the first game with a mercy-win, the Sultans looked to keep that momentum going into another statement game against the Ottomans. With Taha Iqbal unavailable, the Ottomans were forced to play a lot of guys out of position. It didn't matter though, as the Sultans bats continued to hum in another big offensive outburst. After both teams traded runs for the first three innings, the Stallions blew the game open with a seven-run fourth that featured a three-run jack by Shahzad Ahmed and two-run double by Shamil Khadaroo. A K kept doing A K things on the mound, stifling the Ottomans and preventing them from stringing together a big inning of their own. Omer Chaudhry and Faisal Khan went yard themselves as the Sultans demolished the Turks 15-6. The boys in white once again went a perfect 2-0 on the weekend with 32 runs scored and only 8 given up - these guys are getting hot when it counts, watch out.
Final Score: Sultans - 15, Seljuqs - 6; Star of the Game - Omer Chaudhry, 3-4