Worcestershire Rapids went down to a five wicket defeat at the hands of Birmingham Bears who squeezed home with four balls to spare in a NatWest T20 Blast derby at Edgbaston this evening.
The Rapids were put into bat and totalled a competitive 175-6 from their 20 overs with Tom Kohler-Cadmore hitting a mature half century – his first in the short format of the game.
But the Bears avenged their eight wicket defeat at New Road after a fine innings from opener Varun Chopra.
Rapids spinner Saeed Ajmal, in his final T20 Blast game of the campaign, returned the superb figures of 3-17 off four overs.
But the Bears just came out on top in a close contest which could have gone either way in front of a 12,000 plus crowd.
The Rapids now have two remaining games against holders Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Derbyshire Falcons as they bid to seal a quarter-final spot.
Rapids Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes kept faith with the side whose eight match unbeaten run was ended by Lancashire Lightning last weekend.
Opener Richard Oliver cut the first ball of the match from Rikki Clarke for four but was bowled by the second.
Kohler-Cadmore survived a dropped chance off the same bowler backward of square when on 15.
But it was a rare false stroke as he reeled off a series of powerful boundaries including successive sixes over mid wicket off Chris Wright.
Worcestershire reached 62-1 by the end of the six over powerplay.
Kohler-Cadmore also hammered spinner Jeetan Patel for six over mid wicket and there were also five fours in his half century which came up off only 32 balls out of 75-1.
The 19-year-old eventually fell for 51, caught at backward square by Oliver Hannon-Dalby off Ateeq Javid after adding 73 in eight overs with skipper Daryl Mitchell.
Mitchell made 33 before trying to paddle Hannon-Dalby around the corner and lobbing a catch up to Patel who then dismissed Alexei Kervezee (8) and Colin Munro (9) in the same over.
Kervezee was caught off a skier at deep mid wicket by William Porterfield and then New Zealander Munro fell at short mid-wicket.
Patel and fellow slow bowler Ateeq Javid bowled tight spells and had combined figures of 3-39 from seven overs.
Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley rebuilt the innings in a 46 stand in six overs.
Whiteley (20) holed out to long on off Hannon-Dalby and Cox, who hit an unbeaten 34 off 25 balls, and Brett D'Oliveira plundered 18 off the final over from Chris Wright.
Will Porterfield and Chopra got their side off to a flying start and the 50 came up in 4.3 overs and they had extended their stand to 70 by the completion of the powerplay.
Ajmal made the breakthrough when Porterfield, having made 36 off 20 balls, holed out to Chris Russell at cover.
Chopra reached his 50 off 29 balls with two sixes and six fours.
Ajmal returned to the attack and had Jonathan Webb (13) well stumped by Ben Cox in bowling a wicket maiden.
New batsman Rikki Clarke (17) holed out to short third man off Munro and then Mitchell held a fine return catch to dismiss Laurie Evans (6).
Ajmal bowled the penultimate over and ended Chopra's fine innings for 74 off 49 balls with two sixes and eight fours but the home side completed the job in the final over of a see-saw encounter.