Standout performances with bat and ball for Amjid Hussain and Gulsheraz Ahmed continued Keighley RZM’s strong start to their Quaid-E-Azam Premiership title defence on Sunday.

Champions in 2019, the last full season, and again last summer in a shortened campaign, RZM claimed a thumping victory over Azad to stay on the coat-tails of leaders Earl Marshall, who also won in convincing fashion.

In Keighley RZM’s 156-run win, securing them six points, Hussain smashed 91 off 46 balls in their 40-over score of 256-7 having elected to bat.

Coming in at number five with the score at 103-3, he crashed nine sixes and three fours to set a target which Azad never threatened thanks to Ahmed’s 5-10 from five overs.

Zahir Abbas and Iqbal Khan struck early to leave Azad 6-2 before Ahmed’s first victim was home top-scorer Chaudhary Anwar Ul Haq for 37 (41-3). From there, wickets fell all too regularly, and Azad finished 100 all out inside 26 overs.

With two wins from four matches, Keighley are just four points behind a buoyant Earl Marshall side, who won for the third time in four on Sunday as they beat Attock Tigers by seven wickets chasing 130.

Muhammad Asim Khan and Suleman Khan both claimed three wickets for Earl Marshall as the Tigers were bowled out for 129, including captain Ayyaz Ali’s 47.

In reply, Arsalan Mir led the way in a routine chase with an unbeaten 43 from number three and Amar Ullah supported him well with 33 not out.

To put Earl Marshall’s excellent start to 2021 into context, last season they only won two from seven games in a shortened campaign, while Keighley RZM won all seven.

They were two other fixtures in the eight-team Quaid-E-Azam Premiership.

WB Attock were winners by 62 runs away at Adam as they defended their 211 all out in 39.4 overs.

Ironically, Adam were downed in part by a new ball bowler called Adam – Ismail Adam, who claimed 3-38 from eight overs, two of which were bowled.

His opening partner Javed Ebrahim Memi was miserly for his 2-19 from eight overs as Adam finished on 149-9.

Earlier, a trio of solid contributions carried WB Attock beyond 200; Dil Nawaz with 57 from number three, Mahmad Munaf Navsarka 44 from number four and Khalil Ur Rehman 39 from five.

The latter pair hit three sixes apiece.

It was WB Attock’s first win in their third game. Everyone else bar winless Attock Tigers have played four.

The other game of the round saw Kashmir Bradford claim a resounding win, by 102 runs, at Eldwick Law.

Having elected to bat first, Kashmir made 192-7 from their 40 overs before the hosts were skittled for 90.

Like WB Attock, it was also Kashmir Bradford’s first victory of the summer.

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