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Reeza Hendricks finds the zone that leads the Lions to victory party

Reeza Hendricks of the Lions celebrates after getting his 100 runs during the 2022 CSA One Day Cup Final against the Titans at SuperSport Park in Centrion on Wednesday

Reeza Hendricks of the Lions celebrates after getting his 100 runs during the 2022 CSA One Day Cup Final against the Titans at SuperSport Park in Centrion on Wednesday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Published Apr 7, 2022

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Johannesburg — Reeza Hendricks left most of the heavy partying to the younger members of the Imperial Lions team on Wednesday night — he’s a dad now, with a one year old, he’s got bigger responsibilities.

Hendricks had already delivered the party, thanks to one of the greatest knocks produced in domestic cricket, to help the Lions to the CSA One-Day Cup against the Momentum Titans on Wednesday night. “I’m still a bit sore now,” he admitted on Thursday. At 32, having battled cramps in the last 30 minutes of his innings, it’s a sign the years are starting to catch up.

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“I’ve played a bit now, but I’m not that old,” he chirped. He may be too old to be the last to leave the post match festivities, but the years have taught him how to manage an innings, especially on the most important stages — like a final. “In big games you need a senior player to step up and fortunately it was my day,” said Hendricks.

He scored 157 off 135 balls as the Lions chased down 319 to beat the Titans in the last over at SuperSport Park with the ice-cool Bjorn Fortuin launching the first ball of the 50th over into the stands for six.

But for being dropped on five after playing an errant drive straight to Donovan Ferreira in the covers and when he lost his footing playing a reverse sweep, Hendricks’ innings was the very epitome of elegance and style. He played aggressively, as his strike rate suggests, but didn’t look like he was hitting the ball hard.

“I definitely felt like I was in the zone,” he said. “Initially when I walked out to bat I knew that’s how I would play, it’s what I had in mind. The rest…I executed well and it came off.”

Hendricks and Lions skipper Dominic Hendricks were more forceful against the Titans two spinners, Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso than had been forecast. It may have been a batter friendly surface, but the left-arm spinners, are among the best in the limited over game, and although they caused a mini-collapse midway through the run chase, such had been the initial domination that Reeza Hendricks and Fortuin later were able to absorb pressure before reasserting themselves later.

“There wasn’t a specific plan for the spinners, we were aware they were the key bowlers and if we put them under pressure we would have the upper hand. It came off, we got the balls in the right areas that we wanted and put them away.”

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Hendricks’s season was one of inconsistency. He did okay in the four day competition making a hundred there, but the Lions coughed up the chance to win that title in the last three weeks of the competition, and then he had a slow start in the T20 Challenge in Gqeberha, only making contributions at the tail end of the round-robin phase when it was too late.

His international appearances were flat; he played in the ODI against the Dutch and score just six, then played four times in the T20 World Cup, but didn’t contribute significantly. “It’s been alright, you want to score all the runs, but the way it went, there is room for improvement,” he said of the season.

“I felt I contributed in the Four-Day competition, didn’t start too well in the T20 and contributed towards the back end. The One-Day Cup was disappointing. I didn’t score as many as I would have liked. But it ended well.”

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@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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