DARYL Mitchell says Brett D’Oliveira is “getting better and better” as an opening batsman after the 25-year-old signed a new long-term contract with Worcestershire.

D’Oliveira again showed his value to promotion-chasing Worcestershire with scores of 93 and 55 in the County Championship Division Two win over Gloucestershire at New Road.

He was converted into an opener in Championship cricket at the tail-end of the 2015 campaign and has formed an effective partnership with Mitchell.

But D’Oliveira’s worth has also been highlighted in the NatWest T20 Blast when he and fellow spinner Mitchell Santner were Rapids' most economical bowlers, conceding less than seven runs an over.

Experienced former skipper Mitchell, 33, said: “It is vitally important to the club and obviously great for him to sign a long-term deal.

“I am looking forward to playing with him for the foreseeable future.

“We have formed a pretty good partnership and both had decent years and he has turned himself into a very good opening batsman.

“He was thrown in a bit at the back-end of 2015, got some good starts without kicking on and last year he made some big hundreds and a double hundred.

“This year again he has ticked over with important scores and a couple of hundreds to his name which is good to see.

"He is just getting better and better and long may that continue.”

Worcester-born D’Oliveira got his head down to provide a solid base in Worcestershire’s first innings against Gloucestershire and then cracked 55 off just 58 balls to set up a second-innings declaration.

Mitchell added: “He has made two vital contributions against Gloucestershire and the way he set the game up for us on day one was exceptional.

“You probably saw the other side to his game in the second innings and he was really clinical at putting the ball away.

“He got 55 at just about a run-a-ball and got us off to the perfect start.”