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Domestic MVP race still wide open

The race for the FTI Most Valuable Player looks like it will go down to the wire after the latest round of matches left the two leaders just a solitary point apart.

Front-runners Samit Patel and Moeen Ali have established a huge lead over the rest of the field. Yet the difference between the two with two games left to go in the LV= County Championship could not be closer.

Patel, who retook the lead a couple of weeks ago, has 562 points, while Moeen has 561 - 53 points more than third-placed Darren Stevens of Kent

Nottinghamshire’s Patel earned just over 11 in his side’s draw with Middlesex at Lord’s, after hitting 47 runs and taking a wicket. Moeen, meanwhile, returned match figures of 2-46, took three catches and hit 32 runs to pick up just over 14 and narrow the gap.

The FTI MVP, whose winner will scoop £10,000 at the end of the season, rewards players for every run scored, wicket taken and catch held.

Bowlers receive higher marks for good economy rates, bowling maidens and for dismissing the top order, while batsmen get higher marks for scoring quickly and the percentage of the team’s runs they hit.

With an extra match in the Yorkshire Bank 40 final on Saturday to come for Patel, as well 20% more points on offer in the championship’s top flight, he now looks to have the advantage.

But he is sure to be pushed all the way by Moeen, who led the table for much of the second half of the season and has a superior match average. The all-rounder finished third last year, while Patel was 31st.