The Lions are looking to remain undefeated this week and their mix of talent and experience has proven to be amazing. Minus an Irfahn Khimji bomb, newly minted pitcher Imtiyaz Kara looks to have replaced one of the best in the league in Tarik Kamel. The Lions pitching depth will come in handy as they have two games, both of which they are favoured. The hot play of Mohammed Abdalla has proven to be a game changer as he is amongst league leaders in HR and RBIs. If Asad Hussain gets his grove back and starts hitting more than .444 than neither the Tigers nor Wolves will be able to dethrone them. The Lions will handedly take care of the Tigers but then expect a low scoring defensive affair against the Wolves.
X-Factors: Hasanain Panju has been off to a slow start but showing promise with hard contact and his .333 average could easily be higher. Strikeout aside, this week look for Panju to get on base anyway he can and let the big bats drive him in.
Nabil Jetha made his first appearance of the season and did not disappoint last week. With an average of 1.000 and already 2 runs scored, if the Lions have an on base threat in Jetha, they will be very hard to beat. Let’s see if he can keep it up this week.
Game 1: Lions 16 vs. Tigers 7
Game 2: Lions 8 Vs Wolves 5
There is a multitude of reasons the Tigers are still winless this season but without Vick Vij, the Tigers have been forced to rely on role players to step up. And to be frank, they haven’t done so. A week after the catch heard around the world, Mahmood Kara was unable to be the solid contributor he was touted as being with only 1 RBI last week. And while Hasnain Kara was able to hold a very strong Bucks team to only 6 earned runs, his combined 0-5 in two games isn’t enough. The Tigers need their guys to start being themselves if they want to get out of the hole. The tigers are still not ready to climb over the hump this week as they will get their lunch handed to them by a hot Lions team.
X-Factors: Shahid Rahemtulla was brought in to be a power bat but his .143 average has been a disappointment. If he gets it together this week and finds his swing, the Tigers may get the shot in the arm they need to get over the hump.
One major surprise to start the season has been the play of Ray Noormohamed. With a .667 average and leading the team in hits, he has turned into the teams go-to run producer with 6 RBI’s. If Ray keeps going at this pace, he might be the guy to remind his teammates how to play the game.
Game 1: Lions 16 Vs Tigers 7
The Wolves are the deepest pitching team in the league and their best pitcher, Aman Nasser, showed up and pitched a couple of gems. And while he was the only one to not get a hit in their two games last week, this week they will count on him again in their two games this week – Can he hold off two hard hitting teams? Last weeks surprise Imran Damani was able to get on base 60% of the time, but this week they will need the continued torrid run by Umair Ali who is hitting .833 not to slow down. The Wolves will fall short to a hot Lions club, however as they seem to do, the will heat up for game 2 and squeak by the Bucks in a matchup of powerhouse teams.
X-Factors: Samir Damani came to the game; drove in 4 runs to go along with his .600 average and seems to a huge draft pickup by the Wolves. If he can hit like this again this week, there is no stopping the Wolves up and down their lineup.
Ali Merali was off to an extremely hot start and last week while not as hot, he was still affective. If this is an indication he is on a downwards spiral, then the Wolves will have to count on others to help keep up their unbelievable scoring ability.
Game 1: Lions 8 vs Wolves 5
Game 2: Bucks 11 vs Wolves 12
A short Bucks team couldn’t even rely on reserves Sameer Karim or Nadeem Kassam to come help out but this week but we are expecting them to field a full team. They are no longer undefeated but still sit atop the leagues standings and even undermanned, they are solid. The Damien Ramnauth/Imtiyaz Kara trade is certainly starting to show its value as Ramnauth has been off to a slow start with the bat and his pitching equally slow. If he can get it together and the team can keep Imran Nasser off the mound, they will come out on top both times this week. The Wolves will be able to shock the Bucks into their 2nd loss, but the Falcons will be no match for the power hitting of the Bucks.
X-Factors: Irfahn Khimji’s towering home run last week and his 8 RBI’s have made him a huge threat and raising a lot of questions about the trade that saw Hussain Habib leave the Bucks. If Khimji continues to slug at the rate he is (1.133) the Bucks may have made the best trade in the league’s history.
Abbasali Kermalli on the other hand was supposed to be a lock on an already strong team but he looks like he is about one week away from being one week away from getting back to form. The trade for Mohammed Abdalla is also raising a lot of questions as Abdalla is flourishing and Kermali is still looking for his power stroke. If Kermali breaks out this week, the Bucks are unstoppable.
Game 1: Bucks 11 vs Wolves 12
Game 2: Bucks 16 vs Falcons 9
Undermanned yet again last week, the Falcons defence which was once touted as being an asset, has really proven to be their downfall. Allowing another 15 runs has put them at a league worst -19 run differential. If they can’t get their players to show up again this week, they may be in too deep of a hole to over come. Look out for Salim Dharmshi to make his season debut this week and hopefully add some much needed help. Expect another slow start against the Bucks and a squeaker against the Eagles.
X-Factors: Altaf Champsi is hitting really well this season. His .600 average has been excellent and he has drawn a couple of walks as well. However, the Falcons would trade all that for some pitching relief. He is leading the league in earned runs (50) and while he hasn’t had the defence to boot, his league leading 15 walks have resulted in a lot of runs. This week with a full defensive squad, lets see if he can get back to Cy Young form.
A lot of the Irfahn Khimji/Hussain Habib discussion has been a result of the quite play of Hussain Habib. Hussain has the body of a power hitting slugger and has quietly been putting up decent numbers, however if the Falcons are going to get over the hump, they need Habib to have a career season. Habib will be counted on again this week to get extra base hits and drive in runs.
Game 1: Bucks 16 vs Falcons 9
Game 2: Eagles 11 vs Falcons 12
The Eagles surprised everyone with their first two wins of the season as they held two strong teams to only 10 combined runs last week. Combination of strong pitching by Mohammed Walli, and his massive triple against the Falcons have them soaring into this week as a team to beat. Abbas Allidina made another appearance last week but surprisingly has yet to pitch for the Eagles yet. Their extremely well spread out offence and stellar defence will be a tough matchup this week for the Falcons.
X-Factors: Miqdad Jaffer has been doing his job as the league mandated #1 overall pick. He is leading the team with 6 RBI’s but this week, the battle of Number 1s continues as he meets #1A Overall pick Ali Manek. Miqdad’s leadership can be seen all over the field so as long as he doesn’t allow himself to get caught up in the media hype and handles the criticism and regret the team has faced since making that trade, he will have the team moving in the right direction and ahead of schedule.
Hussein Allidina went 5 for 8 last week with a new energy and poise. He even drew a walk and if he keeps it up, the Eagles will have a really resourceful lineup. However, with a total of 18 team RBI’s last week, Allidina did not pickup a single one but did score 5 of the teams 25 runs. Expect some lineup tweaks this week to give Hussein the chance to pad his numbers.
Game 1: Eagles 11 vs Falcons 12