THE Quaid e Azam Premier League were victorious in a T20 Charity Challenge match against Bradford Premier League XI.

They defeated a Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League XI by five wickets with nine balls to spare in a the match that swelled the coffers of Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Watched by a crowd of about 500 on a warm but overcast evening, Vixas Dixit finished the match off in style, hitting successive deliveries from Usman Arshad for six as the Quaid e Azam Premier League XI passed the Bradford Premier League’s score of 165-5.

Dixit, happy to play a passive role at times, finished as his side’s top scorer with a run-a-ball 36 not out, and was partnered by Jer Lane’s Cosmond Walters (21no) in the closing stages.

The Quaid e Azam XI were positive from the outset in their batting, with the tone being set by openers Danish Hussain (34) and Sanaullah Khan (27), who put on 63 in six overs.

Townville’s Abdul Wahid (27) also made useful runs before a flurry of wickets gave the Bradford Premier League team faint hope as the score slipped to 126-5.

But Dixit, who started quietly, and the powerful Walters then took control of the situation as Brad Schmulian used nine different bowlers, and it was the spinners who exercised the greater control because 6.3 overs of seam went for 63 runs.

Schmulian (3-0-12-1) and James Lee (2-0-12-1) were at the heart of the Bradford Premier League’s bowling efforts, while Kez Ahmed and Joe Pocklington also picked up a wicket each.

The Bradford Premier League’s innings was dominated by New Farnley’s Steve Bullen.

Coming to the wicket after the early loss of Callum Geldart, he made 88 from 57 balls, hitting four sixes and nine fours.

Schmulian (22) was the next top scorer, but the Quaid e Azam bowlers performed well, especially Sam Wisniewski (2-28).

Quaid e Azam skipper Yasir Ali (Methley) could hardly contain his excitement afterwards, saying: “It took us a while to create our team, but we have been looking forward to the game.

“I had faith in my boys, and I knew that we could chase down that total on a ground that we know well, and we did.”

Schmulian won the toss, and Ali confessed: “The boys wanted to bat first but I wanted to bowl as I wanted to know what our target was, and I am just proud of the boys.

“The fielding was good from both sides, but fielding was the key for us as we took a few good catches.

“I was expecting to be chasing 160, which was hard to do, but it was a good effort.

“We were expecting massive spin on that (hybrid) wicket, but it played OK and I am happy.”

It was certainly an evening that made Avenue groundsman

As for the Bradford and Leeds-based Quaid e Azam League itself, Ali said: “We have been playing in it (or the original version) for a long time and we want other players to play in it, and not just make it an Asian cricket league.

“That is why we wanted to play this match, especially to tell the Bradford Premier League players that if they want to play on Sundays then there is a league available for them.”

As for the Quaid e Azam League’s national standing, Ali said: “It is a good standard, and this year we allowed in Grade A overseas players (they don’t qualify if they have played first-class cricket in the last five years), which took us from about 60 per cent to about 85 to 90 per cent, so it is a good league.”

Bradford Premier League chairman Bill Holmes said: “It was an excellent game of cricket played in exactly the right spirit.

“Congratulations to the Quaid e Azam League for their win and thank you to everybody who supported the event.

“I am totally supportive of this becoming an annual event. It has been good to work with the Quaid e Azam Premier League on this initial fixture and, judging by the numbers of people who turned up at Park Avenue, this is exactly the type of event to bring the cricketing community together.”

There were bucket collections for Yorkshire Cancer Research, and they also profited from the sales of refreshments, so exactly how much money was raised is still being totted up.

The idea for the match was mooted last November when Quaid e Azam Premier League chairman Basharat Hussain and finance officer Adil Mehmood met with Bradford Premier League chief executive officer Alan Birkinshaw at a fund-raising dinner at Headingley for the victims of the Pakistan flood disaster.

The plans were developed at a further meeting in March where the date, venue and the charity partner were confirmed.