Skipper Moeen Ali and Worcestershire Rapids made a triumphant return to the scene of last summer’s Vitality Blast trophy success with a nine wicket win over local rivals Birmingham Bears.

The England all-rounder hit an unbeaten 85 off 46 balls with six sixes and seven fours as the Rapids chased down a 185 target with eight balls to spare to retain the Norman Gifford Trophy.

It followed on from his 4-18 and 32 in his other Blast appearance against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

Moeen certainly enjoys facing his former County and last season hit crucial centuries in the Royal London One-Day Cup and Vitality Blast matches at Edgbaston.

He was given excellent support this evening by Riki Wessels who showed great responsibility in making 65 not out from 51 balls with eight boundaries.

Their unbeaten stand of 138 was also a record for any wicket by either county in T20 matches between the two sides.

Victory cemented second spot in the table for the Rapids who now entertain leaders Lancashire Lightning at Blackfinch New Road on Sunday (2.30pm)

The Rapids handed a Blast debut to Hamish Rutherford who flew in from New Zealand yesterday evening as an overseas replacement for Callum Ferguson.

But he was not required to bat after the Moeen-Wessels onslaught.

The Bears opted to bat on a fresh wicket and in form Sam Hain collected four boundaries from the first three overs.

But the last ball of the powerplay accounted for Dominic Sibley (14) with 41 on the board.

Sibley tried to sweep Ed Barnard and the ball struck his pad and rolled through to Ben Cox who completed an alert stumping.

Hain had a let off on 30 when he tried to slog sweep skipper Moeen Ali and the ball ballooned up to Parnell at short fine leg who spilled the chance.

It did not prove too costly for the Rapids as on 46 Hain after adding 53 with Adam Hose, holed out to Barnard at deep mid-wicket off Pennington.

Hose (48 off 23 balls) brought the 100 up in the 13th over with a six off Barnard over long off but in the same over was caught at cover by Moeen.

Moeen returned to the attack and in the next over bowled Will Rhodes (1) with a fine delivery at 112-4.

But some lusty hitting by Matt Lamb and Michael Burgess accelerated the scoring rate.

They added 63 in six overs before Lamb (35 off 22 balls) tried a scoop shot against Parnell and picked out keeper Cox to leave Burgess unbeaten on 28.

Pennington ended with figures of 4-0-31-1, Parnell 4-0-30-1, Pat Brown 3-0-35-0, Barnard 4-0-43-2, Daryl Mitchell 2-0-10-0 and Moeen 3-0-30-1.

Wessels got the Rapids innings off to a positive start with two boundaries in the first over from Henry Brookes costing 12 runs.

Martin Guptill greeted Alex Thomson’s entry into the attack with a six over long on and then pulled Chris Green over the ropes to bring up the 50 in 5.1 overs.

But the Black Caps batsman, after making 27 off 16 balls, was well caught at cover off the next delivery from the spinner.

Moeen came to the wicket and he responded with a six and four off successive balls from Brookes and then three boundaries in an over from Thomson.

The Rapids were well placed at 97-1 after 10 overs and then Moeen smashed the first two deliveries from Will Rhodes for six and reached a 28 ball 50 with a leg glance for four in the same over which cost 19 runs.

Wessels completed a responsible half century in a supporting role off 42 balls with six fours and the 100 stand came up in 10 overs.

Moeen then smote successive sixes off Thomson over long on to effectively seal victory for his side.