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Rapids win again

Worcestershire Rapids' winning streak at the top of the NatWest T20 Blast North Group continued as they handed local rivals and fellow high-flyers Birmingham Bears an eight-wicket defeat at New Road.

The visitors struggled to put together a total of 133 for eight, with the only notable contributions coming in the form of Shoaib Malik's half-century and 39 from Jonathan Trott.

That was nowhere good enough to test the high-flying Rapids, who chalked up their sixth straight win while halting the Bears' run of four consecutive victories.

Although Richard Oliver fell in the first over, Daryl Mitchell posted his third half-century in four innings in the competition since moving up to open because of Moeen Ali's selection for England.

The Rapids captain needed treatment for a shoulder problem when he had made 31 but carried on to an unbeaten 62.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore shared in a rapid partnership of 70 before the record-breaking former Malvern College batsman holed out to midwicket for 25.

New Zealander Munro then waded in with two reverse sweeps for six off Shoaib Malik, reaching 39 from 24 balls as Worcestershire went past the winning post with more than five overs to spare.

Earlier, all eyes were inevitably on Trott and his personal well-being after the stress-related problems resulting in his return from England's Ashes series in Australia in November and an aborted reappearance with his county in April.

No-one could accuse him of sneaking back under the radar, with a first knock of one in seven balls in a live TV match against Northamptonshire on Thursday and a second innings in front of a partisan sell-out crowd in a local derby.

Unlike on Thursday when he had to wait until the halfway stage to begin his innings, he was in against Worcestershire in the third over after Varun Chopra hoisted a ball from left-armer Jack Shantry to Oliver on the mid-wicket boundary.

Shantry also bowled William Porterfield before Trott and the impressive Malik shaped a partnership of 83 but Worcestershire, led by the impeccable Saeed Ajmal in conceding only 10 runs from four overs, never entirely lost control.

There was a spell of 15 consecutive singles before Malik began to impose himself with three sixes in reaching a half-century from 39 balls but he was out immediately afterwards, carting Munro to Ross Whiteley at long-on.

Trott eased his way back into some form, 24 singles hinting at timing issues on a slow surface, but the need for acceleration cost him his wicket when a mistimed pull off Chris Russell found Ajmal at mid-on.

Pressure fell back on the lower order and Russell finished with 3-26, giving him 16 wickets in six games in the competition.

Warwickshire's director of cricket, Dougie Brown, pulled no punches in analysing his team's hefty defeat.

He said: "It's very simple. If you don't play well over 40 overs, you are not going to win a game. It's very disappointing because we took a lot of good things into this game but didn't come to terms with the pace of the pitch and the way they bowled and fielded."

In contrast Mitchell could not have been happier with his team's performance.

He said: "It was a really good team performance. We kept them to an under-par score on a pretty decent wicket and then had a really professional run chase. It all went very much according to plan."

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