Friday, June 16th, 2023


Leg spinner Usama Mir made a successful return to Vitality Blast action for Worcestershire Rapids and Brett D’Oliveira struck a fine half century but Birmingham Bears came out on top by 21 runs at a sold out New Road.

The Rapids had announced the signing of Usama for the remainder of the Blast to replace the injured the Michael Bracewell, having already played in the opening three games

He responded with excellent figures of 4-0-22-3

The Bears were indebted to late hitting from Dan Mousley (49 not out) and Jacob Bethell (32 not out) for setting a challenging target.

When the Rapids batted, D’Oliveira looked in excellent touch and there was good support from Adam Hose and Mitchell Santner.

But it was a challenge to get on top of the Bears spinners and the Rapids closed on 175-6 despite some clean striking in the later overs from Usama.

He ended unbeaten on 32 from 16 balls with three sixes.

Worcestershire handed a first T20 appearance of the season to all-rounder Matthew Waite while Hose faced his former team-mates for the first time.

The Bears were put into bat and openers Alex Davies and Rob Yates posted a 50 stand in 5.1 overs.

Pat Brown made the first breakthrough when Davies slashed hard to Hose who made no mistake at point.

Usama came into the attack and struck in his first over when Yates came down the wicket and was stumped by Ben Cox.

There was more joy for Mir when Glenn Maxwell (9) was taken at long on by Santner.

D’Oliveira typified the sharp Worcestershire fielding when sprinting 40 yards around to long on to save his side three runs at full stretch in an over from Santner.

Chris Benjamin and Dan Mousley added 51 in 6.2 overs before the former was run out attempting a second run after turning Brett D’Oliveira to deep square leg.

Barnard got off the mark with a boundary first ball but on seven tried to sweep Mir in his final over and was lbw.

Some late hitting from Bethell and Mousley produced 51 runs from 3.1 overs to lift the final total to 196-5.

Ed Pollock was restored to the top of the order after Bracewell’s injury and off drove the first delivery from Hasan Ali for four.

The left hander was pouched at mid off in the second over from Maxwell and Jack Haynes was strangled down the legside off Henry Brookes.

D’Oliveira got the scoreboard moving with a scoop and cover-drive for successive boundaries at Brookes expense and back to back fours from the Rapids skipper brought up the 50 in 5.2 overs.

Hose continued his run of good form and helped D’Oliveira add 78 in 8.1 overs.

Barnard came into the attack and Hose (36) fell to his second ball via a pull to deep mid wicket at 89-3 in the 11th over.

Santner drilled Danny Briggs over the long off boundary but the Bears spinners bowled straight and tight.

D’Oliveira completed an excellent half century from 37 balls with one six and five fours but was stumped off Jake Lintott without addition to his score.

Mir ended with a flourish with a trio of maximums but the Bears held on to triumph and lift the Norman Gifford Trophy.