Sunday, June 18th, 2023


Usama Mir’s career best figures in T20 cricket and a fine all-round performance from captain Brett D’Oliveira helped Worcestershire Rapids achieve a convincing six wicket Vitality Blast success over Leicestershire Foxes at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Leg spinner Usama finished with 4-22 from his four overs as the Foxes were dismissed for 112 in 18.2 overs after choosing to bat.

It surpassed his previous best of 4-24 when playing for Sialkot Stallions against Abbottabad in the Super Eight Cup in Faisalabad nine years ago.

Usama continued his excellent form in the competition and fellow spinners, D’Oliveira and Mitchell Santner, also played key roles in a dramatic collapse by the Foxes.

They reached 66-1 after seven overs but then lost nine wickets for 46 runs to a mixture of excellent bowler and fielding by the Rapids.

Rain was forecast for mid afternoon and the Rapids reply began under increasingly gloomy skies but D’Oliveira ensured they stayed in control of the situation and completed a 39 ball half century with the winning hit.

The Rapids eventually triumphed with 3.4 overs to spare in completing a fifth win of the campaign.

Pace bowler Josh Tongue made his first Blast appearance of the season after being released from England Test duty against Australia at Edgbaston.

He replaced Matthew Waite in the only change from the side in action against Birmingham Bears on Friday evening.

Rapids captain Brett D’Oliveira put the Foxes into bat and Dillon Pennington made the first breakthrough with the fourth ball of the innings.

Nick Welch (2) aimed a blow on the leg side but only top edged a catch to Usama moving back towards long off.

Peter Handscomb and Rishi Patel added 64 for the second wicket but then the wickets started tumbling in quick succession to the Rapids spinners.

D’Oliveira struck with his first delivery when Handscomb looked to work the ball to leg and was bowled.

Usama had impressed with 3-22 against the Bears and he was soon back amongst the wickets with two in three balls.

Foxes captain Colin Ackermann was caught behind via an inside edge after aiming a blow over mid wicket.

Patel then attempted a similar shot and was bowled by the Pakistan international.

Louis Kimber was bowled after making room to try and hit Mitchell Santner over cover and D’Oliveira picked up a second scalp as Rehan Ahmed was safely gathered by Adam Hose at long on.

Usama returned to the attack and struck twice more with successive deliveries.

Tom Scriven provided Hose with another catch just inside the boundary and Michael Finan was beaten all ends up by a delivery which came back in.

The innings was wrapped up with two fine catches by Pennington and D’Oliveira.

Wiaan Mulder attempted a scoop shot against Tongue and Pennington pulled off a brilliant diving effort at fine leg.

Callum Parkinson tried to hit Pat Brown over cover but D’Oliveira’s one-handed effort brought about his downfall.

D’Oliveira finished with 4-0-17-2 and Santner 4-0-22-1 and there was also a wicket apiece for Pennington (2-0-14-1), Tongue (3-0-25-1) and Brown (1.2-0-12-1).

Jack Haynes was promoted to open alongside D’Oliveira and they faced an all-spin attack of Parkinson and Ackermann.

D’Oliveira collected the first boundary when he cut Parkinson and Haynes pulled the same bowler and Ackermann to the ropes.

Haynes, after making a run a ball 16, was caught at deep mid wicket off Matt Salisbury.

Santner joined D’Oliveira and the pair took the pair past the half century mark before the New Zealand all-rounder (18) holed out to long off against Parkinson.

Adam Hose (5) chopped onto a delivery from Rehan Ahmed and Kashif Ali (10) cut the same bowler into the hands of short third man.

But D’Oliveira stayed in control of the situation and Ben Cox swept Ackermann for four to bring up the 100 in the 16th over.

D’Oliveira ended the game with a flourish, hitting Finan for six over long on and then hammering the next ball over cover to seal victory and bring up his fifty which contained one six and five fours.

Next up for the Rapids is a huge game against the Lancashire Lighting on Tuesday. Tickets are just £15 for adults and £5 for kids and can be bought here.