Here is what transpired in Week 8. [note: recaps have been written by members of the rumours committee]
Mamluks v Ottomans: The 2pm affair at Birchwood 1 featured the Mamluks and Ottomans in a 1 vs. 2 matchup. It was the sole game in the early slot and both team were shortened due to absences. The game was a back and forth affair with both squads trading runs almost every inning. The Mamluks were a bit shaky in the field with the absence of a catcher and the Turks took advantage, or at least as much as they could. They also welcomes newly acquired Hassan Chaudhry into the fold as he had a solid debut. Hammad Afif also made his presence felt as he went hard twice. Over on the other side, Jibran Waqar did Jibran Waqar things and Baseer Yaseen also came through in the clutch with a late two out double to give the Green Machine the lead. In the end though, Rehan Ahmad was able to bring home the tying run on a last inning double. As both heavy weights continued to throw haymakers, the final result ended in a tie.
Final Score: Mamluks - 12, Ottomans - 12; Star of the Game - Hammad Afif, 2-4, 2 HRs
Ottomans v Nasrids: In a back and forth affair that saw two teams trying to find their feet battle one another, the Nasrids took on the Ottomans in a must-win game. The teams traded barbs in the first two innings courtesy of home runs from Taha Iqbal and Osman Buttar. The Ottomans looked to blow it open with a six-run third inning, but the Nasrids had other plans. Led by some timely hitting from the bottom of the Spaniards lineup, the Nasrids piled hit-upon-hit for a 7-run fifth to take the lead 11-8 going into the last frame. After the Ottomans tied it up, it came down to the MVP-candidate Osman Buttar stepping up to the dish with a runner on, and did what Buttar does. The Greenbird/Greyhound smacked a walk-off 2-run shot to capture the win, and collect a much needed two points in the standings.
Final Score: Ottomans - 11, Nasrids - 13; Star of the Game - Osman Buttar - 4-4, 2 HRs
Mamluks v Ayyubids: The Mamluks were coming into this match without a loss since week 2, but with some key bats missing. The Ayyubids were looking to erase the memory of the beat down the Mamluks delivered to them in week 5. With both teams fielding only 9 players and with shortened lineups, both teams were expected to score runs. The game started with the Ayyubids throwing the first punch, taking a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to small ball hitting and patience at the plate. The Mamluks put up a six-spot in the second capped with a Taher Mirza three-run blast. The Ayyubids would add two more in the second courtesy of a Jibran Khan homerun. The Mamluks added four more runs in the 4th inning, but would not score again. The Ayyubids would add, 1, 2 and 3 runs in the subsequent innings to take an 11-10 lead. AR capped the Ayyubids scoring with a 3-run homerun. The Ayyubids would hold on for the win thanks to solid d and a game ending diving catch by Umair Sheikh.
Final Score: Mamluks - 10, Ayyubids - 11; Star of the Game - A R, Game winning HR
Ayyubids v Nasrids: Both teams were high coming off huge victories against the top two teams in their previous games. It was the Spaniards, though, that got off to a hot start with a first inning mercy. The Ayyubids didn't let that phase them as they chipped away at the lead to cut it to 7-5 and keep themselves in striking range. However, each of their comeback attempts ended abruptly due to untimely outs, which left runners stranded. Insurance runs from the Nasrids big boys Nirvaan Latif, Asad Syed, and Osman Buttar were the final nail in the coffin. Jav Ahmad continues his late resurgence with the bat to give the Nasrids much needed hitting in the middle of the order. The men in black could have used their missing bats today as playing with a shortened lineup hurt them. Ahmad Ammad was their lone bright spot as he went 4-4 and added to his season home run tally. A great pitching performance from Ali Jabbar wasn't enough as the Nasrids came up with crucial hits across the lineup and were a wall in the field. 15-7 was the final score in favour of the Nasrids, who continue their seesaw season as they will themselves into a tie for second place with the Ayyubids and Ottomans. It sets up for a dramatic final weekend where each of these teams will by vying for sole possession of second place and a first round bye in the September classic.
Final Score: Ayyubids - 7, Nasrids - 15; Star of the Game - Nirvaan Latif, 3-3, 2 HRs
Mughals v Abbasids: The Abbasids came into this one knowing that while their playoff dreams may be over they could play spoiler for an opponent for what remained of the season and who better to bring down then the mighty Mughals! The Abbasids were without perennial Star Sameer Rafique making the spoiler gig much harder while the Mughals were without Nadeem Hussain and recently acquired Owais Ansari. Even without two big bats the Mughals came out hot as they dropped five-runs in the top of the first and seemed well on their way to dropping seven runs had they remembered to not touch home as did the runner crossing the plate for the sixth run which ended the rally. The Abbasids responded with a pair of runs and seemed to show some fight but the Mughals were quick to extinguish any hope as they dropped seven runs in the top of the second to take a 12-2 early lead. The Mughals were able to coast the rest of the way, getting runners on base with smart hitting and then using the long ball to clean up the bases as they knocked six out of the park and showed great patience in drawing seven walks over the game. When the dust settled the Mughals roared to a 25-8 win where every batter got at least one hit and Faraaz Alvi had a particularly standout performance (tying league record) going 6/6 with 6 runs scored and 5 RBI which was capped off with a mammoth homer to right. The Abbasids got a solid outing from Bilal Javed with a pair of homers and 4 RBIs.
Final Score: Mughals - 25, Abbasids - 8; Star of the Game - Faraaz Alvi, 6-6, 2 HRs
Sultans v Mughals: After a much needed convincing win against the Abbasids, the Mughals looked to cement their playoff spot this week with a win against the Sultans and not worry about next week. Unfortunately, things did not start off as planned in game 2, as the Sultans came out swinging the hot bat with a 4 spot in the first inning alone capped off by a HR by Shaheen “I Refuse to Age” Limbada. The Mughals got one back on a solo shot by Ismail Akhtar but the Sultans got more HRs from GM Shamil Khadaroo, Hassan Chaudhary and a 2nd one by Shaheen. Before you know it, 3 innings were in the books and the Sultans had built up a 10-1 lead and never looked back. With the Sultans winning 13-6, all eyes would be on the Sultans next game against the Seljuqs; a Sultans win would guarantee the Mughals and Sultans a playoff spot. The lone bright spot for the Mughals in this game was that their new look infield nicknamed RAIN (Riyad, Atif, Imran and Nauman) played exceptionally well and committed 0 errors in the game. This could potentially allow management to play around with positioning for the last week and playoffs as people have proven they can play multiple positions that were previously not known. The last week of the regular season will pit these 2 teams against each other again with 1 last attempt at securing a playoff push. Will the Sultans come out and end the Mughals dominance since the league has started, or do the Badshah’s still have 1 trick left up their sleeve to secure that playoff spot? Come out, grab a lawn chair, and enjoy the playoff atmosphere of the final regular season week where 6 teams are vying for that last spot to the dance.
Final Score: Mughals - 6, Ottomans - 13; Star of the Game - Shaheen Limbada, 3-4, 2 HR
Abbasids v Seljuqs: Coming into this game, we expected the Seljuqs to blow the Abbasids out of the water as they were without Sameer Rafique and Kashif Irshad. The Abbasids came out pounding scoring 5 in the top of the first off homeruns from Bilal Javaid and Zuhair Fancy. The Seljuqs countered with 5 of their own with Omer Dhaduk and Rameez Siddiqui going the yard. Whenever the Abbasids put up runs the Seljuqs responded when it was their turn to bat. It was an overall tight affair and Seljuqs supporters were getting nervous about their chances at the second season. In the fifth inning, Omer Dhaduk created a gap in the scoreline with a second homer and toped it off with ‘another one’ in the sixth. The Seljuqs offense chipped away from the batter’s box and consistently brought in runs to see them over the Abbasids who played a solid 7 innings. All 12 batters in the Seljuqs order registered at least a hit and this kind of consistency and performance is what they need to make the playoffs and compete within. The Abbasids still look for their fist win.
Final Score: Abbasids - 12, Seljuqs - 20; Star of the Game - Omar Dhaduk, 3-4, 3 HRs
Sultans v Seljuqs: The Seljuqs and the Sultans came in fighting for the 6th spot near the end of this BSL Season. Both teams had won their earlier game of the day and were seeking to get the W. Both teams started off hitting the ball well and racking up some runs in the first inning, however it was the Seljuq team that was able to consistently hit the ball well throughout the game. the runs piled on and by the 4th inning it was a 9-2 game for the Seljuqs. Omar Dhuduk continued his heavy hitting from earlier in the day and piled on another homerun to increase the lead. The moment of the game however came when the Sultans had three men on base setting up Shahzad Ahmed at the plate to start the comeback. After a couple of foul hits, Ahmed hit a laser down the line at third that was first deflected right into the anticipating hands of Omar Dhaduk and then turned into a double play to end the innings. Any hope the sultans had of coming back ended right there. With 4 points on the day for the first time this season, the Seljuqs are peaking at the optimal time. The Sultans however, blew an opportunity to move all the way up to 2nd place with a win. Now they face a rematch with the Seljuqs and a chance of being eliminated next Sunday.
Final Score: Sultans - 8, Seljuqs - 15; Star of the Game - Omar Dhadhuk, 3-3, HR, 2 2B