Being a freshman at Rutgers University, pursuing a double major in Finance and Medicine is challenging, but Mital Patel has nevertheless managed to continue the upward trajectory of his cricket career. Today in only his 2nd game for the USA Under 19 team, he was named Man of the Match for his match winning bowling performance as the USA won their 2nd game in the ICC Americas Under 19 Qualifier.
On the side field at the Central Broward Regional Park in Florida, Bahamas won the toss and chose to bat first. USA opening bowler Hammad Shahid had Kunal Sharma lbw early and Bahamas was 6 runs for 1 wicket. Julio Jemison and Ashmeid Allie ground out 18 runs over the next 9 overs, playing out the USA opening attack of Shahid and Salman Ahmad.
Rutgers’ Mital Patel was then brought on and got the breakthrough by clean-bowling Jemison for a gritty 15 runs. Patel then had Jermaine Adderley caught behind by Steven Taylor for a duck. Suddenly the Bahamas U 19 team was reeling at 24 for 3.
Leg-spinner Gurpreet Sandhu came on and got Allie to make it 24 for 4. A brief rally by the Bahamas batsmen was ended when Patel and wicket keeper Taylor combined again to dismiss Ramesh to make it 39 for. Sandhu then wrapped up the tail, taking 4 wickets for 16 runs in his 5 overs and the Bahamas Under 19 guys were all out for 54 in 28.5 overs.
Cameron Mirza steered the USA to an easy victory, only losing Steven Taylor for 9. Mirza could be headed for a Bradmanesque average as he finished on 29 not out as the USA made 55 for 1 wicket in 8.5 overs. Taylor took 4 catches behind the wicket.
Mital Patel took 3 wickets for 9 runs in his 6 overs, with 3 maidens and was named Man of the Match. The Rutgers’ fast bowler took 2 wickets for 9 runs on his national debut yesterday against Argentina.
The past few weeks he has been practising with the Rutgers Cricket Club as they prepare for the national College Championship in March. Having won the American College Cricket Northeast Championship last October without Patel, there’s no doubt that Rutgers will seriously contend for the national title and the Chanderpaul Trophy at the 2011 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship in March.
Patel currently is the leading wicket taker for the USA team, and college teams be warned – these are the same pitches he will be bowling on in March !