Rickelton underlines his class — again — as Lions storm to victory over Dolphins

Ryan Rickelton delivered another match winning performance for the Lions against the Dolphins at the Wanderers on Friday night
Ryan Rickelton delivered another match winning performance for the Lions against the Dolphins at the Wanderers on Friday night
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

In case anyone needed reminding: Ryan Rickelton is still quite good and on this form is deserving of a national call-up. 

Of course, that has been the case for a few years, but since Shukri Conrad and Rob Walter have taken over as national coaches, Rickelton’s appearances have been limited. A prevailing theory seems to be that Rickelton isn’t the first choice keeper/batter for the national side, but why he simply can’t play as a batter has never been properly explained. 

Never mind, Rickelton has continued batting in a manner that in most other places would make him hard to ignore. A first class average of 50, leading run-scorer in the SA20, and on Friday night a second consecutive half-century as the DP World Lions eased to a third win in a row in the CSA T20 Challenge.

In a rain-reduced match at the Wanderers on Friday, the Lions were given 99 problems by the Dolphins, but because of Rickelton the pitch was not one of them. 

No matter what the Dolphins tried, Rickelton had an answer. He started the chase with two consecutive sixes, the second of which required the ball to be changed, a four followed against the new ball and by the time the three-over power play was completed, more than half the runs were knocked off. 

With Rickelton finishing on 53 not out, which included five sixes and six fours the Lions reached their target of 99 with four balls to spare, solidifying their second spot on the points table. 

Earlier Bryce Parsons, once of this parish, started the ‘slogathon’ after the almost two-hour rain delay, with an easy 19 runs in the first over, in which Lutho Sipamla supplied plenty of gifts. For the duration of his brief stay at the crease — all of 13 balls — Parsons showed complete control, whacking five fours and a pair of sixes in his innings of 36. 

Given how much fun he was having, his unhappiness at being given out lbw by umpire Arno Jacobs was understandable with the left hander gesticulating that the ball had nudged his bat before he was struck on the pad. Sadly for Parsons his evening took a painful turn later in the field when he injured his left leg while charging after the ball and had to be removed from the field on the back of a medical buggy. 

Though the Dolphins scoring rate hovered around 10 an over, the rest of the batters lacked the aggressive control Parsons had displayed. Grant Roelofson survived a few chances before reaching double figures with the Lions' fielding again not as sharp as it should be.

Codi Yusuf again impressed for the home team picking up 3/15, with two of those wickets coming in the last over, when he also successfully kept the dangerous JJ Smuts off strike.


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