Jozi Stars opener Ryan Rickelton hits out during his innings of 91 against Paarl Rocks on Tuesday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

PAARL – When T20 cricket started all those years ago, it was said to be a young man’s game.

And while many veterans have defied that logic, Ryan Rickleton reminded us all about the power of youth in the Mzansi Super League at Boland Park on Tuesday evening.

The 22-year-old Jozi Stars opener batted sublimely, fulfilling the rich promise that once earned him the praise of being referred to as a “young Quinton de Kock with free hands”.

The former South African Under-19 prodigy certainly showed off his silky skills in a stroke-filled 91 off 51 balls on another long evening for the Paarl Rocks bowling unit.

After conceding 203/4 against AB de Villiers’ Tshwane Spartans on Sunday, the Rocks bowlers were once again smashed to all parts of Boland Park, with the Jozi Stars posting a record 209/2, which was enough to earn them a 60-run bonus-point victory.

The Rocks’ inability to take wickets upfront is certainly hampering their chances at the moment, with Proteas seamer Dane Paterson (0/56) particularly disappointing. 

Paterson has now conceded 101 runs off his eight overs in the past two matches, and with the seamer currently struggling with a back injury, he could be due a rest fairly soon.

The Rocks certainly cannot afford to concede consecutive 100-run opening stands like they have done on a regular basis after Rickelton and Rassie van der Dussen (78 off 49 balls) built up the momentum for the Stars with a 155-run partnership in 16.3 overs to set the visitors on their way.

Home captain Henry Davids was left to rue his decision to bowl first again after winning the toss, often appearing helpless to stem the avalanche of runs.

Even after the dismissals of the openers, the Rocks bowlers still had no clear bowling plans, with Australian international Dan Christian providing the finishing touches with a powerful 32 not out off just 11 balls (2x4, 3x6).

For the Paarl Rocks to have any chance of hauling in the massive total, they required their senior batsmen to match Rickleton and Van der Dussen’s pyrotechnics.

Unfortunately for the home fans that braved the chilly evening, they were left acutely disappointed, with only Davids being able to contribute a rapid 60 off just 36 balls.

The rest of the Rocks batting unit were strangled by Stars spinners Simon Harmer (2/22) and Eddie Leie (3/33), which leaves the home team without a victory after two matches.


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