Just as we head into the semi final weekend, with everyone given a 2 week rest to recover their wounded and prepare for the best of 3 series that awaits them this weekend, we come with an update and our predictions on what will happen in this semi final weekend. We’ll go series by series, starting with the first one.
(1) Wolves vs (4) Lions
The first place Wolves, who went on an 8 game win streak to take that first place spot, take on the 4th place Lions who survived an early 8-1 deficit in their quarter final game to get here. This first game of the series takes place at a new diamond – King Memorial – and at an earlier time – 7AM! The Wolves also have been off for 3 weeks, getting a last week forfeit from the Falcons that let them keep their players on the bench. This entire set up is to the benefit of the Lions.
You have a young team in the Wolves that will need to wake up before they start paying attention to the score, and that have been away from the game for far too long, and unless they have all been practicing in game scenarios, they’re going to have to shake off the rust before they come back to their winning ways. We expect that the Lions will come out firing and will now use the resources they have been stockpiling all season – their pitchers. Expect to see a number of different pitching combinations come through in this one from Ali Jaffer, to Mohammed Somani, to their ace of staff Tarik Kamel. While on the Wolves side, we expect that they’ll go with Mikael Ratansi, but if he struggles and you see captain Ali Merali take the ball, then you can all but give this one to the Lions.
But hold on, while we think the first game of this series will go to the Lions. We think the ultimate series will go to the Wolves. With a team full of athletes and competitors that know what it is like to be down a single game in a series, they’ll come together and regroup formidably. We don’t think this team will have any panic in them and will likely come out guns a blazing putting up a sequence of 6 run innings to start off the second game. We think they’ll take the second game just strictly on their offensive ability.
Though there is a break in between, we anticipate they’ll likely carry this momentum through to the 3rd and final game to take the series. The most interesting thing in this series is how the Lions will choose to handle Imran Nasser and Ali Raza Nasser, both have shown the capability to hit anywhere on the field and get on base whenever needed. Will they pitch around them, will they settle for a single strike then a walk, or will they do something different. Meanwhile, for the Wolves the interesting note will be in how they choose to work around the Lions captain Asad Hussain, a home run threat every time he comes to bat, he can re-kindle the Lions hopes with just a single swing of the bat. If the first game goes as we anticipate, the Lions may have the fire to push for that second game.
(2) Tigers v (3) Falcons
This series is likely a lot closer than the previous match up. Featuring the age and veteran leadership of the Falcons versus the slumping, and limping Tigers who barely crossed the finished line to second place. The Falcons have beaten the Tigers in their last two match ups, and still hold that lopsided 21-4 victory against them. This series will be 2 games, and we think so for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the Falcons don’t stock enough Advil, A535, and Robaxacet to get them to play 3 games in a single day, so they’ll be pushing hard for the early victory. Second, the Tigers just haven’t shown the mental toughness to overcome a loss. They ended their season going 2-3, with losses against the Falcons – twice and the Owls – once. This from a season that started out 7-0. This rocky finish will surely be on their minds, and captain Hussein Allidina has shown that he plays nervous in playoff situations with losses in Ramadhan and in 2015.
The story will be told in the early innings, if the Tigers get shut out in the first 2 or 3 innings of the first game, you can call their series a wrap. If, however, they come out and score some runs, then there might be some life. However, the overall arsenal of the Falcons with Ali Manek, Mohez Kamalia, and Imtiyaz Kara will play fits with their defence. They all are able to find holes and this Falcons team as a whole has a team average above .500! That means that 50% of the time they’re getting on base, and if you make an error and let them get on again, then you may as well give them the game.
We’re going for the underdog on paper, the Falcons, in two for this series. We expect to see a Wolves v Falcons final.
All that said, there’s a reason we play these games, so I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow. See you on the field.