Olly Hannon-Dalby will have his former team-mates in his sights when Birmingham Bears visit Yorkshire Vikings in the NatWestT20Blast on Friday (6.30pm).
It’s all to play for in the North Group after last weekend’s matches left the top six teams separated by just two points.
Two of those six sides are the Bears and the Vikings, so vital points will be at stake in Leeds on Friday, and also at Edgbaston on Sunday when Derbyshire Falcons will be the visitors (2.30pm).
Halifax-born Hannon-Dalby, who joined the Bears from Yorkshire four years ago, will be a key man. His skilful death-bowling has brought him eight wickets at just 14.50 runs apiece in this year’s Blast so far – an excellent response to a bruising 50-over campaign earlier this season.
Any game against the Yorkies is always a special one for me, whether it’s at Edgbaston or Headingley, and it would be great for the team to get a win up there.Oliver Hannon-Dalby
“We had a few hard 50-over games with very short boundaries and I didn’t come out on top, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “So it’s really pleasing to come back into the side and get some good performances under my belt.
“I am really happy to be back in the team. T20 is a volatile event so you will take some punishment sometimes but it’s great to be back in the team and contributing. As a death bowler, if you do it for long enough there are times when you’ll pick up wickets and times when you’ll go for runs. I had a tough time earlier in the season but it’s nice to be back.
“Any game against the Yorkies is always a special one for me, whether it’s at Edgbaston or Headingley, and it would be great for the team to get a win up there.”
Hannon-Dalby came through the Yorkshire youth system but is now firmly part of the Bears picture and recently signed an extension to his contract to the end of 2018.
In the immediate term, his objective is solely focused on next weekend’s double-header to help the Bears towards qualification from the group – and take them a step nearer another Finals Day.
“It would be brilliant to be part of another Finals Day at Edgbaston,” he said. “There is no bigger day and to be playing for Birmingham Bears there again would be absolutely fantastic but we have got a lot of hard work to do to make that happen.
“We won the first two then lost two but the defeats were real close games and could have gone either way. The difference against the Foxes last Sunday was Luke Ronchi’s hitting up top. He was excellent and that’s the nature of T20 cricket – one player can blow hot and win a game for his team.
“That’s what makes T20 so exciting because it seems to change every year. As a bowler you have to be a bit unpredictable with slower balls and bouncers. You have to think on your feet and year on year new shots are coming in and it gets a bit more difficult, so you have to think a bit more sharply.”