The England Lions all-rounder took three wickets in 30 balls during a teasing first spell and finished with six for 77 from 29 overs in one of the best performances ever seen on the ground by a spin bowler on the first day of a new campaign.
Instead of a stack of wickets for seamers last season’s first match here was done and dusted inside three days - Rashid was able to find some turn on an unusually dry surface for this time of year.
Worcestershire’s new captain, Daryl Mitchell, still to be on the losing side since taking over for the last four matches in last year’s promotion success, was going well until falling to Rashid when one short of his 50.
The opener was leg-before after hitting eight boundaries, three of these in an over from Steven Patterson, and a mini-collapse set in when Vikram Solanki lost patience and drove a catch to Joe Sayers at short mid-wicket.
The Rashid-Sayers combination also accounted for Alexei Kervezee after Holland’s World Cup batsman had got away with a horrible mis-hit for four.
After Moeen Ali had edged Patterson to wicketkeeper Jonathan Bairstow, Worcestershire recovered for a while as Gareth Andrew counter-attacked with 49 from 81 balls.
Rashid eventually bowled the all-rounder for the first of three more wickets in quick succession, but there was a final twist when Matt Mason charged to the fifth half-century of his career with a six off Ryan Sidebottom.
The Australian also hit nine fours in making 63 from 54 balls before he was run out by Patterson off his own bowling.
A last wicket stand of 68 with Alan Richardson (16 not out) put the seal on an absorbing first day for a sizeable crowd enjoying an opening day heatwave.
With an overspill car park brought into use by lunchtime, 2,500 spectators saw Worcestershire attempting to defy their position as 20-1 on favourites to be relegated, as they were in each of their previous three years in Division One.
Resolute batting held off the seamers as Yorkshire - despite the return of Sidebottom after seven seasons with Nottinghamshire - struggled to find the penetration expected of potential champions.
Sidebottom took a wicket in his first spell, James Cameron playing no shot and losing his off stump, and later in the day he removed Matt Pardoe, caught at first slip after batting with some composure for 26 on his debut.
A 20-year-old left hander who plays for Kidderminster in the Birmingham League, he contributed to a stand of 62 with the more robust Andrew, who hit five fours and a six.