Olly Hannon-Dalby is a chap who relishes pressure.
You have to, of course, to be a death bowler in limited-overs cricket, the role which Hannon-Dalby has emphatically claimed at Warwickshire and which he cemented in the Royal London Cup semi-final with a superb final over to finally subdue Somerset’s determined challenge.
The westcountrymen needed 16 from the last over. That’s a stiff challenge, but one that has been pulled off many times before in big one-day games. An early boundary and momentum builds and nerves fray in the field…
But not this time as former Yorkshire seamer Hannon-Dalby delivered a yorker-filled over that was pretty close to perfection.
“The over before I had bowled a pretty decent over,” he recalls. “But the last ball to Tim Groenewald I thought I’d try a slower ball, thinking he might play and miss, and he whacked it for six. So in the last over I just thought ‘definitely do not bowl a slower ball!’
“Death-bowling is something I work on a lot with bowling coach Alan Richardson so I just tried to draw on everything we’ve said and keep it simple and keep bowling yorkers – and luckily it came off.”
But Hannon-Dalby’s contribution to the Bears’ semi-final win, which booked them a Lord’s final against Surrey on September 17, stretched far beyond the death over. His excellent first spell, conceding just 11 runs in five overs, had kept a brake on Somerset’s scoring which later proved to be absolutely crucial to the narrow, eight-run victory.
“I was pleased with my first spell,” he said. “The guys had bowled well first up and there just seemed to be a bit of nibble in the pitch as there had been all day if you kept the seam up.
“It came out well for me on the day but I think the nature of one-day cricket is that one day you are the hero, next day the villain. I am a firm believer that sometimes in limited-overs cricket you can bowl the same balls in two successive games and one day they go to hand and you get a five-for and the next you go out of the park and get none for plenty.
“Whatever happens, you have got to try to keep level-headed. In the semi-final, I was the lucky one.
“It was just a great day. Sun shining, bank holiday Monday, big crowd in, albeit a few raucous Somerset fans in the corner – but they were good fun, suggesting my kit doesn’t fit!
“Now we have a Lord’s final to look forward to and that will be absolutely fantastic. I played in the one in 2014 and unfortunately we were just on the wrong side of that so hopefully we can put that right his time.”
Tickets – Royal London One-Day Cup Final
Tickets for the Royal London One-Day Cup Final are available direct from the Lord’s Ticket Office by clicking here, priced from £30 to £50 for adults and £5 for juniors. Tickets can also be booked over the phone on the Lord’s Ticket Hotline – 020 7432 1000.