Match Report

Fate Favors Rickelton as MI Cape Town Cruises to SA20 Victory

Ryan Rickelton rode his luck early on before smashing another half-century to get MI Cape Town back on the track in the SA20 League with an eight-wicket victory over the Paarl Royals.

John Goliath
John Goliath

Last Updated: 2024-01-19

Dillip Mohanty

Ryan Rickelton powers MI Cape Town' to victory over Paarl Royals

Ryan Rickelton rode his luck early on before smashing another half-century to get MI Cape Town back on the track in the SA20 League with an eight-wicket victory over the Paarl Royals.

Rickelton made history in the competition on Friday when he became the first player to score four half-centuries in a row, an unbelievable start to the season for the left-hander.

His 94 from 52 balls helped MI Cape Town comfortably chase down the Royals’ 172/8 in 16.5 overs. But it could have been very different, as Rickelton was dropped on six by Royals captain David Miller after skying a ball in the third over off Obed McCoy’s bowling.

That basically summed up both teams’ fortunes on the night, with the Royals having a torrid time towards the end of their batting effort and in the field.

The Royals were cruising to something closer to 200 at one stage with big-hitters David Miller and Jos Buttler at the crease, following a blistering cameo from Jason Roy at the start of their innings.

However, MI Cape Town's left-arm wrist spinner Thomas Kaber turned the game on its head in the middle overs, taking 3/20 in his four overs.

MI Cape Town, on the other hand, took their chances brilliantly before going for the kill. They were very good in the field and ruthless with the bat.

Rickelton is in the form of his life and is pushing hard for for a return to the national set-up. He was overlooked in the recent white-ball series against India after the World Cup, as well as the subsequent Test series.

He admits that snub hurt and had a negative influence on his game domestically for the Lions. Now he is playing with freedom for MI Cape Town and with a new perspective.

"This summer has been a bit difficult, having been left out of the national side, mentally I probably took a hit and I was looking for answers both on the field and off the field," said Rickelton.

"Coming into the tournament I had nothing to lose and Robbie (Mi Cape Town coach Robin Peterson) has given me the platform and license to try and get the team off to the best start.

"I’m not worried about getting out and I’m not worried about runs, I’m just worried about getting us off to a good start and to have a positive impact for the team."

Rickelton has played four Test matches and two One-Day Internationals for the Proteas, making a rather underwhelming start to his international career after a couple of very good seasons for the Lions.

However, after four quality knocks to start the tournament - including to innings in the 90s - he must be in the frame for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies later this year.

But the left-hander says he is not out to make statements at the SA20 or to settle scores. He just wants to enjoy his cricket and play with freedom.

"I’m never looking to prove a point. It’s always frustrating (not to be selected), but the biggest thing for me was a fresh start," Rickelton said.

"I haven’t played any T20 cricket for the Lions, so I took the weights off so to speak and for the first time in my career I’ve not worried about getting out. I’m worried about having an impact.

"I don’t have anything against the selectors, it’s just about having fun for MI Cape Town. I’m enjoying my cricket and enjoying my batting."

Jason Roy shows signs of life after MI Cape Town win toss

The Royals have been waiting for the real Jason Roy to stand up and show his power and class since the start of the first edition. And, wow, for a couple of overs the Newlands faithful saw why the Paarl side are persisting with him despite his poor run of form.

After a couple of quiet overs, Roy went after Proteas spearhead Kagiso Rabada with a brutal assault. Roy welcomed one of the world’s best fast bowlers to the crease with three consecutive sixes and a four.

His opening partner Buttler joined the party with two fours and a six off George Linde in the very next over. There were fireworks, but during the day!

Roy then two more sixes off Rabada in the fifth over before he seemed to misjudge a change of pace by the Proteas bowler and hit the ball straight to Rassie van der Dussen.

Buttler and Miller keep the momentum before the big collapse

MIller joined Buttler with the score at 63/2 in 5.1 overs, the ultimate platform on what looked like a belter of a pitch.

And the two continued to play shots, with Buttler pumping a couple of big shots in the crowd. Two duo put on 42 runs in six overs before Kaber bowled Miller (20) with a beautiful googly.

Buttler (46 off 31, 6x4, 2x6) lost his wicket soon afterwards, mistiming a Linde delivery straight down Van der Dussen’s throat at mid-off.

The Royals lost wickets at regular intervals, and it took a lovely cameo from Mitchell van Buuren (28) to get them to a defendable score.

The Van der Dussen-Rickelton show still a big hit

The Royals’ score seemed to be a bit under par, and they really had to start well if they wanted to contain the powerful MI Cape Town batting line-up.

And they got an absolute gift in the third over when Rickelton hit a McCoy delivery straight up in the air. However, confusion in the covers between Roy and Miller saw the latter drop what should have been a regulation catch.

The MI Cape Town openers then made the Royals pay, recording another big stand and continuing their trend of going wicketless in the power play.

Van der Dussen dominated while Rickelton initially struggled to get going. The veteran right-hander hit the ball cleanly and pounced on anything full and loose.


Shamsi strikes to give the Royals some hope, but …

Van der Dussen (41 off 28 ball, 4x4, 2x6) and Rickelton put on a partnership of 80 runs in eight overs before Van der Dussen perished trying to hit Royals spinner Tabraiz Shamsi out of the park.

Starlet Dewald Brevis’ poor run of form continued when he became Shamsi’s second victim, slightly opening the door for the Royals.

However, Rickelton was just too good on the day. After initially struggling and riding his luck, his innings bloomed with petals of brutality.

He hit the winning runs with a massive six over square leg, cementing his place atop the SA20 batting rankings and possibly in the Proteas’ T20 World Cup squad.

The two teams meet again on Sunday, this time at Boland Park in Paarl where the Royals are still upbeaten this season.

John Goliath
John GoliathSenior Sports Writer and Editor

John Goliath is a copywriter and editor with 20 years' experience in the sports media industry. John, a Tottenham Hotspur tragic, studied journalism in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and has worked for two of the biggest media houses in South Africa.