Dhiren Patel takes Fort Collins by Storm
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Man of the Match Dhiren Patel(LCC) produced one of CCL's best innings with both the bat(111 off 60 balls) and ball(6.1-0-36-5).
Littleton Cricket Club traveled to Boltz on 11-Aug-2012 to play a formidable Fort Collins team with championship hopes on the line. LCC looked to consolidate their position in the top half of the standings, while FCCC needed a win to turn their fortunes around. Win-loss records aside, Boltz has traditionally been a tough venue for LCC, with the club having defeated FCCC in premier matches there just twice in the past 12 years. The teams arrived at the ground only to find a wet pitch due to overnight sprinklers, and tall grass in the infield. The umpires decided to begin the game at 11 a.m. with the match reduced to 37 overs.
The damp conditions promised misery to the team bowling first. FCCC won the toss and elected to bat. As in recent games, LCC opened the attack with the Bald Brothers duo, Raj and Raja. This time it was Raja's turn to get the early breakthrough when he got Phani to edge his first delivery to the keeper. Mike Riley and Gopal played patiently until the latter misplayed a slower delivery from Jay to Ramesh at gully. Mike departed in the next over when Raj latched on to a well-struck drive off Bodha.
With the score at 30/3 after 12 overs, Kit responded for the home team in the only way he knows how...by counter-attacking. Rare is the batsman who plays as one-dimensionally as does Kit, but nevertheless manages to bully the bowlers anyway. LCC players knew this only too well from Kit's long association with the club, but could not find an answer despite throwing five different bowlers at him. By the 26th over, FCCC stood at 119/4, Kit had scored 64 in 48 balls (3 fours, 5 sixes), and in the company of Omar looked well on his way to running away with the game.
Just as LCC was beginning to despair, Dhiren Patel dismissed the duo in consecutive balls, first inducing a mishit top edge from Omar that Shailesh caught, and then trapping Kit with a faster one for lbw. Energized by the turnaround, and led by Dhiren's maiden 5 wicket haul, LCC roared back and wrapped up the rest of FCCC in the next five overs for 139 all out.
Facing a very achievable target, LCC knew they still had to carefully navigate the seasoned bowlers of FCCC and the dismal history at Boltz. But, the funny thing about history is that...well, not everyone knows it. In this case, LCC had their rookie sensation, Dhiren Patel, who showed a distinct lack of appreciation for events of the past.
What followed was an innings for the ages. Dhiren pulled, hooked, flicked, drove, and cut with disdain. Just as LCC had tried before with Kit, the home team threw every bowler at Dhiren, but without success. Two of his shots in particular stand out, both in the same over by Gopal. First, Dhiren sent a barely overpitched delivery outside off screaming over extra cover for six. Two balls later, just as LCC was done muttering about how rare that shot was, Dhiren dispatched one over cover point with so much force and power that it sailed over the fence and landed just short of the home across the street! Having taken 40 balls to achieve his fifty, Dhiren made that effort look rather pedestrian by storming to his century in just 17 more balls. By the time LCC reached the target in the 19th over, Dhiren had scored 111 not out in 60 deliveries with an astounding 10 sixes and 9 fours.
Hardly surprisingly, Dhiren Patel was declared MoM for his 5 wickets and his second century of the season. Even though cricket is a team game and Man of the Match awards are usually merely given to the highest statistic-bearer, every now and then comes along an individual effort of such magnitude and willpower that it truly dominates the game. In those cases, a label of Most Valuable Player may be more appropriate. This time, Dhiren was truly the game's MVP.
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