If the Falcons are going to end the season by staying in 3rd place, they will rely on getting on base. They almost beat the undefeated Lions in a tight 16-13 ball game, but could have been a different ball game if the 2nd and 3rd batters Arif Gulamhusein and Salim Chagani didn’t go 0-5. With only two game remaining, the Falcons need to secure a victory this week and it’s time for some quite bats to get them over the edge.
X-Factors: Abbas Nasser is stuck hitting .333 on the season but played his best game of the year against the Lions. He his team leading 4th double of the season and the high scoring offence of the Falcons have to be hoping that he has finally made the turn as we approach the playoffs.
Word is that Nabeel Naqvi hit one out of the ball park in practice and can’t remember what bat he used to do it. Trying to find that home run magic, he went a respectable 2-5 last week. If Naqvi figures it out and can start hitting above .500 to end the season, the Falcons will be flying.
The Tigers scored 30 runs last week. Their first two wins of the season came in a big way. Aadil Jaffer went 4-4 against the Eagles and Ali Jessa seems to be getting back into the mix hitting .500 last weekend. The Tigers come into this week looking to stay out of the basement and keep moving forward with solid team play.
X-Factor: Shahid Rahemtulla finally got his swing back this week going 4-7 with 4 RBI’s bringing his average to .375 on the season. So long as he isn’t a 1-and-done home run hitter, the Tigers might be able to surprise some teams in their last 3 games.
Surprisingly, Bobby Bharwani moved up the walks leaderboard into 4th place after picking up 4 walks in 2 games. Leading by example seems to be working as the team got it’s first two wins and his .600 OBP is right where it needs to be to allow the big bats to help rack up runs.
Until the Eagles start fielding an entire team, they are going to struggle. But putting up 11 runs against the leagues best team certainly has them moving in the right direction. With number 1 overall draft pick Miqdad Jaffer coming back this week, expect them to be playing with a lot more focus and poise to get out of the basement.
X-Factor: At the beginning of the season it was easy to guess that Murtaza Amarsi would be leading the team in OBP and 3rd in average. Granted he has 8 at bats to go along with 4 walks, but if Amarsi can be a leader in the clubhouse and more Eagles follow suit, the leagues worst offence might start moving in the right direction.
The Eagles are also the leagues worst defensive team but without Raheel Rawjani and brother Komail Rawjani, it’s hard to expect the team to do a lot defensively. If Raheel is back this week, the team could finally start to gel as the playoffs are only a few weeks away. It’s now or never for the Rawjani brothers.
The Wolves 4 game loosing streak have them all spiralling into the depths of the bottom of the standings quickly. Hoping to find some magic against rival Altaf Champsi didn’t work last week as their losing streak continued. But having 3 extremely qualified pitchers will prove to pay its dividends as Ali Merali is expected to make his first JMS start at shortstop this week with Mikael Ratansi moving back to pitch. Although it should be noted that Ratansi only has 1 hit in the games he has pitched in this season including going 0-2 against the Falcons last week.
X-Factor: Has Aman Nasser pitched his last game of the season? Maybe coming off the bench to pitch will get him going again but if the Wolves are going to move forward, Aman has to be a bigger contributor. He’s currently sitting at .200 average but without the pressure of pitching, we’re expecting to see him break out this week.
Abbas Fazal is off to a good statistical start to the season but he was once talked about as being a huge draft steal. Last week he was 0-2 and did not play a factor in the game. If he goes back to his .556 average that he’s sitting at this season, the Wolves will be able to snap their losing streak.
Losing to a team with zero wins on the season doesn’t mean that the Bucks are trending downwards. But there are some signs to suggest that their 6-2 record might be over inflated. The reigning MVP, Ali Raza Nasser is not having a repeat year and has been struggling by his own lofty standards. Still in the top 10 of all meaningful offensive categories, Ali Raza is a power hitter with only 1 home run and someone needs to pickup the power game for the Bucks if they hope to finish 1st. The wind wont push Imran Nasser’s balls over the wall anymore.
X-Factor: Nadir Virjee defensively has been a strong addition to the team in the infield. If he can keep that going, the Bucks can live with his .409 average. But if Nadir can continue to consistently hit the ball to all sides of the park, he should be getting on base more than his .458 this season.
Hussein Jiwan is confusing. He’s hitting .500 in his 10 at-bats this season but can he keep that going. He has only scored 1 run all season on the most potent offensive team in the league. Do they have him batting in the wrong place? Has he proven himself to move up in the lineup? Either way, he needs the opportunity to contribute.
The Lions still sit undefeated at the top of the standings and they just seem to be doing everything right every week. Their defence has been strong; their offence is not overwhelming but is getting the job done every week. The only surprising outlier is Zane Hussain who’s .417 is the lowest batting average amongst league captains this season. But even with him struggling to find his rhythm, the Lions are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
X-Factor: Hasanain Panju is back! He went 5-8 last week to lead the way with 6 RBIs and has his average up to .381. That’s still a far cry from what we expected from him, however, if he can repeat this week, a once forgotten cog in the wheel will have found his way through and should play a huge role for the team heading into the playoffs.
Sometimes playing with too many coaches (Imtiyaz Kara and Zane Hussein) could negatively impact some players. Muhammad A. hasn’t been able to get it together this season and while everyone is moving on all cylinders, Muhammad has been trying to find his place. With every team gunning to dethrone the Lions, they could really use him to get it going as the playoffs quickly approach.