Brett D'Oliveira scored his first half century for Worcestershire and there was another fine knock from Tom Kohler-Cadmore but the Rapids were edged out by Birmingham Bears in a closely fought NatWest T20 Blast clash at New Road.
A capacity crowd approaching 5,000 saw D'Oliveira (56 not out) and Kohler-Cadmore (66) help the Rapids to a challenging total of 160-5 on a slow wicket.
The Bears were made to battle all the way by the home side but reached their target in 19.3 overs thanks chiefly to an unbeaten 50 from Rikki Clarke.
The Rapids remain in second spot and still in strong contention for a quarter-final spot while holders Birmingham are through to the quarter-finals.
Worcestershire were put into bat on a wicket previously used for the T20 Blast matches with Notts Outlaws and Durham Jets.
Skipper Daryl Mitchell departed in the first over when he was caught by Brendon McCullum at point off Rikki Clarke.
Kohler-Cadmore, who scored a career best 75 against the Outlaws at Trent Bridge last Friday, again looked in excellent form.
He lofted Oliver Hannon-Dalby over his head for the first boundary of the game and cut Clarke to the ropes to quickly move into double figures.
Kohler-Cadmore survived a caught and bowled chance against Recordo Gordon when on 21 but otherwise scored freely.
A chop for four off spinner Jeetan Patel brought up the 50 in the seventh over, of which Kohler-Cadmore had scored 38.
Richard Oliver (10) tried to hit Josh Poysden over mid-wicket and was bowled and then Colin Munro (8) was stumped off Patel.
Kohler-Cadmore went to his half-century off 38 balls with six fours and hit Ateeq Javid for six over long on.
He was eventually caught on the mid wicket boundary for 66 off Poysden having faced 51 balls and struck one six and six fours.
Ross Whiteley (3) holed out on the mid wicket boundary off Gordon.
But then D'Oliveira took centre stage in superb style and he was largely responsible for the last four overs yielded 56 runs.
Hannon-Dalby was deposited for sixes over fine leg and mid wicket and Gordon received the same treatment over mid wicket and long off in the final over.
D'Oliveira completed a superb half century off 29 balls and finished unbeaten on 56.
When the Bears started their reply, Brendon McCullum pulled Joe Leach for six but the same bowler had his revenge when the Black Caps captain was bowled for 15 by a ball of full length.
Ed Barnard came into the attack and removed Tom Lewis (8) who was caught at point by Ross Whiteley.
Then Bears skipper Varun Chopra (10) was run out after turning Saeed Ajmal on the leg side and then being beaten by Leach's throw as he tried to regain his ground.
When Patel (11) was stumped by Ben Cox off D'Oliveira, the Bears were 48-4 in the seventh over.
Clarke and Laurie Evans batted sensibly in adding 68 in nine overs before the latter on 35 was caught at long on by Kohler-Cadmore off Ajmal.
Birmingham needed 45 off the last four overs and the hitting of Clarke (52 not out) and Ateeq Javid (22 not out) saw them home with three balls to spare.