moeen ali scored his maiden t20 century as worcestershire rapids sealed a home quarter-final by defeating birmingham bears by 15 runs in the vitality blast encounter at edgbaston.
the all-rounder had been released from england test duty against india at trent bridge in time to face the bears.
moeen responded by smashing 115 off 56 balls with seven sixes and 12 fours as the rapids amassed 209-5.
then the rapids bowlers kept their nerve in restricting the bears to 194-7 with pat brown bowling a superb final over in which he conceded only four runs.
the bears were made to pay for dropping moeen twice – on nine and 48.
it followed on from his hundred against his former county in the deciding north group encounter in the royal london one-day cup at the same ground earlier in the season.
moeen overtook his previous best t20 score of 90 against northamptonshire steelbacks at northampton in 2015.
it was also the highest ever individual t20 score against the home side, beating ben raine’s 113 for leicestershire on the same ground this season.
worcestershire also surpassed their own highest t20 total against their local rivals – 192-7 at New Road last month.
moeen received excellent support from fellow opener joe clarke (32) and callum ferguson (13) in stands of 80 and 74 for the first and second wickets.
then ben cox gave the innings a late boost with 27 off 16 balls before he and ross whiteley were both run out in the final over.
the rapids gave a t20 debut to tom fell in place of the injured brett d’oliveira but he was not required to bat.
birmingham also made a flying start with ed pollock and ian bell bringing up the 50 in the fifth over.
but wayne parnell broke the partnership by bowling bell for 19.
pat brown, the competition’s leading wicket-taker came into the attack and made a big breakthrough when the dangerous pollock (36) was deceived by a short ball and nicked through to cox.
daryl mitchell then accounted for sam hain (10) who went for a big hit and top-edged a catch to moeen at extra cover at 93-3 in the 10th over.
brown returned to spread eagle adam hose’s stumps after he had made 45 and then parnell enjoyed a second success as colin de grandhomme (31) holed out to mitchell on the boundary.
with aaron thomason (13) run out in the final over, the rapids were sure of their superb success.