Mzansi Super League

Malan and Rickelton are having a wonderful run in the MSL

The Mzansi Super League clash between the Jozi Stars and the high-flying Cape Town Blitz at Bidvest Wanderers on Saturday evening will cast the spotlight on two of South Africa’s most promising young batsmen. 

Stars opener Ryan Rickelton set the MSL T20 alight on Tuesday evening when the left-hander smashed 91 off just 51 balls (7×4, 3×6) to drive his team to a bonus-point victory over the Paarl Rocks at Eurolux Boland Park.

Following Rickelton’s heroics, Blitz opener Janneman Malan then showed off his talent to the nation with an equally impressive 57 off 39 balls (10×4, 6×1) that maintained the Cape team’s unbeaten start to the competition after three matches.

Both batsmen are still only 22-years-old and share a similar path to the top after playing together for the South Africa U-19 team in 2014. Malan, therefore, admitted that watching Rickelton’s innings gave him the confidence to go out and perform at PPC Newlands against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.

“I think maybe coming into the tournament, as young guys you don’t feel like you are one of the guys to perform. But after watching Ryan’s knock, it did make an impact to show me that one of us can make an impact on a game. So, definitely when I saw it, I also felt that I could do it,” Malan said.

They also both agree that playing alongside seasoned internationals, like Malan opening the batting with Standard Bank Proteas opener Quinton de Kock, and Rickelton partnering West Indies legend Chris Gayle upfront for the Stars, has had a major impact on them.

“It has been awesome. To walk out with Chris Gayle, the master of T20 cricket, it is something you never think is going to happen! He has helped me with things going forward,” Rickelton said, while Malan added: “Playing with the world’s best. A lot of the guys have played 100/200 T20 matches all around the world. It is not just on the field. when you at the hotel you can chat about how they think about the game. I am hoping to be learning all the time and then trying use it.”

Rickelton won’t walk out to open the innings with Gayle at the Bullring due to the big Jamaican’s responsibilities at the Abu Dhabi T10. However, the Stars have an equally dashing replacement in Standard Bank Proteas opener Reeza Hendricks, who along with fellow Proteas Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius will debut for the Stars.

“We have had had KG, Reeza and Dwaine all come back to training, so that just picks us all up to a different level. They bring plenty of energy into the environment. KG is a good mate of mine. So, I can sponge off him quite easily,” he said.

The Blitz will also have all their Proteas available for selection, although pace sensation Anrich Nortje may be rested for his second consecutive game due an ankle ailment.

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