WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids suffered a second successive defeat in the NatWest T20 Blast as Birmingham Bears pulled off a five-wicket win with four balls to spare in the derby clash at Edgbaston.
The visitors were put into bat and totalled a competitive 175-6 from their 20 overs with Tom Kohler-Cadmore hitting his first half-century in the short format of the game.
But the Bears avenged their eight-wicket defeat at New Road after big hitting from openers William Porterfield and Varun Chopra took full advantage of the powerplay.
Only spinner Saeed Ajmal, in his final T20 Blast game of 2014, was able to stem the flow of runs in front of a 12,000-plus crowd under floodlights with superb figures of 3-17 off four overs.
It means the Rapids will probably have to beat holders Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Derbyshire Falcons in their final two games to reach the quarter-finals.
Rapids 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 Clarke backward of square when on 15, but he also reeled off a series of powerful boundaries including successive sixes over mid wicket off Chris Wright.
Worcestershire had reached 62-1 by the end of the six-over powerplay.
Kohler-Cadmore’s half-century came off only 32 balls out of 75-1 and included five fours.
The 19-year-old eventually fell for 51, caught at backward square by Oliver Hannon-Dalby off Ateeq Javid.
Skipper Daryl Mitchell made 33 before trying to paddle Hannon-Dalby around the corner and lobbing a catch up to Jeetan Patel.
But Worcestershire lost momentum as Patel dismissed Alexei Kervezee (8) and Colin Munro (9) in the same over, before 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 but Cox, who hit an unbeaten 34 off 25 balls, and Brett D’Oliveira plundered 18 off the final over.
Porterfield and Chopra got their side off to a flying start and the 50 came up in 4.3 overs. At the end of the powerplay, they had extended their stand to 70 as Chris Russell conceded 35 runs in two overs.
Saeed made the breakthrough when Porterfield, having made 36 off 20 balls, holed out to Russell at cover.
But Chopra reached his 50 off 29 balls with two sixes and six fours.
Saeed returned to the attack and had Jonathan Webb (13) well stumped by Cox in bowling a wicket maiden.
Clarke (17) eventually holed out to short third man off Munro and then Mitchell held a fine return catch to dismiss Laurie Evans (6).
Saeed 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.
n Worcestershire have named a 12-man squad for tomorrow’s LV= County Championship clash with Leicestershire at New Road (11am).
Spinner Shaaiq Choudhry has been added to the squad in place of Moeen Ali.