CRICKET: Usama stars as Rapids campaign Blasts off - The Worcester Observer

CRICKET: Usama stars as Rapids campaign Blasts off

Worcester Editorial 25th May, 2023   0

PAKISTAN spin sensation Usama Mir delivered an all-round masterclass as Worcestershire Rapids got off to a flying start in this year’s Vitality Blast campaign.

The 27-year-old, playing the first of three matches for the Rapids, took 3-21 after hitting 20 not out as Worcestershire won by 15 runs in their opening fixture in the 2023 competition.

Usama is available for the home fixtures with Yorkshire Vikings on Friday (May 26) and Leicestershire Foxes on Bank Holiday Monday (May 29).

He is available to provide cover for Mitchell Santner for those games should the latter’s side Chennai Super Kings qualify for the latter stages of the Indian Premier League.

Usama will be reunited with Central Punjab teammate Azhar Ali at New Road. They play together in Pakistan’s first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

In that competition, he returned his career-best first class figures of 6-91 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last October. Usama made his debut for Pakistan in an ODI against New Zealand in January, and he has featured in six 50-over internationals, all against the Black Caps.

He has taken ten wickets at an economy rate of 5.29, with best figures of 4-43 in Karachi earlier this month.

Usama also starred in the 2023 Pakistan Super League and finished as the fifth highest wicket-taker with 17 wickets at an economy rate of 7.93.

He helped his side Multan Sultans to reach the final, and he had figures of 3-24 against Lahore Qalandars only to lose out on title glory by one run. Usama was also part of the Muzzaffarabad Tigers team, which reached the final of the 2021 Kashmir Premier League and had his side’s best bowling figures of 2-25.

Worcestershire Cricket Steering Group chair Paul Pridgeon said: “We have signed Usama Mir for the first three games of the Blast following Mitchell Santner’s side reaching the knockout stages of the IPL.

“He is a leg spinner who bats a bit, and he is already the country. He is playing club cricket for Colwyn Bay [in the Liverpool Combination Premier Division] and got 140 odd for them a couple of weeks ago.

“He has played the last six ODIs for Pakistan and made a good impression, and he has also had a good impact in the most recent Pakistan Super League, which is a good pedigree.

“We hope that Usama can help us get off to a good start in the Blast before Mitchell joins us for the rest of the competition.”

New Zealand all-rounder Michael Bracewell is linking up with Worcestershire Rapids for the beginning of the 2023 Vitality Blast.

Bracewell has been playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, but their failure to make the knockout stages means he is free to join the Rapids.

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