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Ken Borland

Rickelton’s tremendous century takes Lions to almost certain safety

Posted on February 21, 2023 by Ken

Ryan Rickelton’s magnificent century took the DP World Lions to almost certain safety on the third day of their CSA 4-Day Series match against the Dafabet Warriors at the DP World Wanderers Stadium on Tuesday.

The wicketkeeper and Proteas Test squad member blazed a fiery 125 off just 112 deliveries to take the Lions to 433 all out, a first-innings deficit of just five runs. The Warriors then batted for 18 minutes before stumps, getting to five for one. They will take a 10-run lead into the final day and the home side will be going all out to dismiss them cheaply on a pitch that is showing some signs of inconsistent bounce with occasional deliveries keeping low.

Rickelton came to the crease with the Lions in control on 187 for three on a glorious sunny day without a cloud in the sky. That handsome position was thanks to an impressive top-order display by the Central Gauteng side.

Openers Josh Richards and Dom Hendricks, who resumed on their overnight score of 19 without loss, took their first-wicket stand to a hefty 123 before Richards was bowled for 60 trying to hit left-arm spinner Tsepo Ndwandwa over the covers.

Captain Hendricks fell for 62 as he was caught behind off Beyers Swanepoel, who found the left-hander’s edge with a fine delivery that moved away late. Wiaan Mulder, who took 28 balls to get off the mark, was most unfortunate to be run out for 4 when a powerful straight drive by Temba Bavuma was deflected into the non-striker’s stumps by bowler Mthiwekhaya Nabe.

But Bavuma was in commanding form and he and Rickelton added 54 for the fourth wicket before the Warriors began making inroads with the ball.

Bavuma was also caught behind the wicket off Swanepoel (22-7-74-3), having scored a fine, free-scoring 67 with 12 fours and a six. Mitchell van Buuren was caught behind for 2 off part-time medium-pacer Matthew Breetzke just before tea, and 241 for three became 320 for eight as Glenton Stuurman (22-4-73-3) struck three times with the second new ball.

At that stage, the Lions were still 118 runs behind and could have left themselves with an anxious final day, but Rickelton, who had looked firmly in control at the crease, then took his innings deep and played some imperious strokes as he belted 11 fours and seven sixes in his third century in five innings in the four-day campaign.

He found an able ally in Lutho Sipamla, who scored a polished career-best 36 as they added a rollicking 84 for the ninth wicket in an hour, all but taking the Lions to parity.

After such batting heroics, Kagiso Rabada could not let the day go by without making a mark of his own, and his second delivery, Jordan Hermann’s first, was the perfect ball to a left-hander, forcing him to play and then just nipping away to find the edge and have him caught behind for a duck.

Kyle Jacobs and Diego Rosier then survived another four overs before the umpires let the batsmen retire to the changeroom due to bad light, shadows moving over the pitch.

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