riki wessels came within three runs of his first century wearing worcestershire’s colours before a six-hitting blitz from ed barnard sealed a splendid four wicket win over warwickshire in a 50 over friendly at edgbaston.
new signing wessels raced to 97 off just 51 deliveries and then barnard smashed his way to an unbeaten 78 off 31 balls as the rapids chased down a 404 target with 29 balls to spare.
wessels, who has signed a three year contract with worcestershire, struck five sixes and 14 fours – a total of 86 in boundaries.
it brought back memories of his nine sixes in making 55 against worcestershire for nottinghamshire in a vitality blast game at New Road last summer.
wessels dominated an opening stand of 75 with josh dell (20) who was caught behind off ryan sidebottom.
the south african added a further 58 for the second wicket with tom fell (30).
wessels was finally bowled by kamau leverock with the total on 133 to bring an end to his explosive knock which will whet the appetite of county supporters for the forthcoming royal london one-day cup campaign.
fell was then caught at square leg off sidebottom while george rhodes (2) was lbw to alex thomson.
but skipper brett d’oliveira made 33 off 32 balls and ross whiteley and alex milton maintained the rapids momentum.
whiteley was full of aggression and made 68 off 41 balls with three sixes and nine fours.
he was eventually caught at long on off alex thomson but milton kept the run chase in full flow by completing a 47 balls half century with three sixes and three fours.
barnard then entered the arena and struck nine sixes and three fours.
five of his sixes came in one over from leverock as he and milton – 62 not out from 59 balls – took the rapids over the finishing line.
earlier, josh tongue was the pick of the worcestershire bowlers as he followed up his six wickets in the two-day encounter between the two counties.
tongue finished with figures of 2-41 from his nine overs as warwickshire totalled 403-7 in a match again played on the raglan stand of the ground with a short boundary.
he bowled sam hain for 70 and had tim ambrose (61) caught at deep square leg by wessels.
adam finch had made the first breakthrough when ed pollock (1) nicked through to tom fell at first slip.
he picked up a second wicket later in the innings when matt lamb (88) holed out to wessels at deep cover.
there was one wicket apiece for barnard, ben twohig and d’oliveira who was the next most economical bowler after tongue with 1-38 from seven overs.
*moeen ali was run out for 13 off seven balls as his side, royal challengers bangalore, went down by six runs to visiting mumbai indians in the indian premier league.
the worcestershire all-rounder hit his former county team-mate mitchell mcclenaghan for six before his dismissal as rcb closed on 181-5 in reply to 187-8.