DILLON LOOKING TO TAKE FINE FORM INTO VITALITY BLAST DERBY
Dillon Pennington will look to continue the fine T20 form, which has earned him a wildcard call-up into The Hundred when Worcestershire Rapids take on Birmingham Bears in Friday’s Vitality Blast derby at New Road (5.30pm).
Birmingham Phoenix have selected the fast bowler for the new competition after some key contributions have propelled the Rapids into the Blast top three with three games to go – including two versus the Bears.
Pennington has demonstrated his ability to take wickets in the initial powerplay, including a fantastic burst of 4-0 from his opening two overs against Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley.
He finished with 4-24 in that game, and his best Vitality Blast figures came in his second appearance in the competition with 4-9 against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at New Road in July 2018.
Pennington is quick to acknowledge the help he has received, and knowledge gleaned from Australian paceman Ben Dwarshuis in the Vitality Blast this summer.
He said: “In white ball, Ben Dwarshuis has been brilliant for me. I’ve learnt so much from him. He has helped me learn a couple of skills that have been really useful this year in T20.
“He has highlighted how good he is and the level I need to achieve to get up to the standards he achieves.
“He has been incredible, standing at mid-off, and in training, and I’ve learnt a tremendous amount off him.
“I like having that consistent figure at mid-off to be able to speak to if something is not going right, and Ben is a very level-headed guy.
“He is very relaxed. If things aren’t going well, he is still very stable, and that’s brilliant for me. If you are under pressure, having that sort of person by your side is unbelievable.
“A couple of times I’ve walked off in T20 thinking ‘well, actually I haven’t bowled that bad.’ You’ve got to try and keep a level head at the end of the games.
“One day, you bowl alright, and the batter has got hold of you and the next day, you bowl okay, and they don’t.
“It’s making sure you stick to your game and plans and hopefully, it comes off more often than not, keeping it as simple as possible.”
Rapids will be looking to boost their hopes of reaching the knockout stages for the third time in four years.
Pennington said: “Hopefully, we will make it. We’ve worked so hard to get to this position.
“We’ve got some really important games coming up, but if we can get through, we will go into the latter stages full of confidence.”
Bowling Coach, Alan Richardson, who has worked closely with Pennington, said: “There has been an avenue that has opened up there for The Hundred with things that are going on, and it has been great that Dillon has been recognised.
“At times, he has bowled brilliantly for us in the T20. It’s a rollercoaster competition for a team and an individual.
“You can go from being a match-winner in one game to feeling like everything is going against you in the next.
“It happens very quickly, and it can be pretty brutal, but I think Dillon has got the character to deal with that, and at times he has put in some outstanding performances and valuable spells for us.
“He is growing all the time, but his role generally for us has been to bowl in that powerplay and try and take wickets.
“At times, he has done that brilliantly well and been very effective for us.”