OPENING pair Riki Wessels and Martin Guptill bludgeoned holders Worcestershire Rapids to a nine-wicket victory over Durham in the Vitality Blast as the home side made a triumphant return to playing cricket at Blackfinch New Road.

Wessels and Guptill made short work of a 182 target as they galloped to half-centuries off just 20 and 18 balls respectively.

Even allowing for the short Cathedral side boundary, it was an astonishing display of hitting by the duo and thrilled a 3,800 crowd.

All of the Durham attack were powerless to stem the tide of sixes and boundaries as the hundred came up in the seventh over.

Liam Trevaskis conceded 24 runs in the eighth over as Rapids raced to their second Blast win of the campaign.

The partnership was worth 148 in just 8.5 overs when Wessels, having made 74 off 29 balls with five sixes and eight fours, lofted Brydon Carse to mid-off.

Guptill continued to pepper the boundary exactly two weeks after he had been on the losing side with New Zealand in the ICC World Cup final against England in dramatic circumstances and ended on 86 not out.

He finished the game in just 12.1 overs with his 11th six — off Trevaskis — and also hit three fours in his 31-ball knock while Callum Ferguson contributed 17no.

Worcestershire had been forced to decamp to Kidderminster’s Chester Road ground for their Specsavers County Championship Division Two matches with Sussex and Derbyshire after their headquarters suffered a mid-June flood.

Rapids opted to bowl and Durham opener D’Arcy Short made a quick 23 but then turned a free hit delivery from Pat Brown to mid-wicket, set off for a risky single and failed to beat skipper Brett D’Oliveira’s direct hit.

Ben Raine (6) perished in the next over when he came down the wicket to Dillon Pennington and nicked through to wicketkeeper Ben Cox.

It became three wickets in three overs when Scott Steel (13) sliced Wayne Parnell to Ross Whiteley at cover.

His dismissal brought in Durham’s new signing Peter Handscomb who has replaced fellow Australian Cameron Bancroft as one of the club’s overseas players for the rest of the season.

Handscomb and Alex Lees set about repairing the early damage and brought up the half-century stand in six overs.

Lees was in a particularly aggressive mood and his 44 off 31 balls included three sixes before he gave Pennington (2-26) the charge and was bowled to end a stand of 75 in eight overs with Handscomb.

Handscomb (37 off 28 balls) eventually perished at long-off to Guptill off Pat Brown (2-38) on his return to the attack for the 17th over.

Brown struck again in the same over when Jack Burnham (23) picked out Whiteley at deep mid-wicket before Trevaskis (6) was lbw to Parnell (2-41).