|Royal London One-Day Cup, New Road|
|Warwickshire 304-5 (49/49 overs): Bell 104, R Clarke 84*; D’Oliveira 2-34|
|Worcestershire 241-7 (31.5/34 overs): J Clarke 56, Cox 49; Thornton 4-42|
|Worcestershire (2 pts) beat Warwickshire by three wickets (D/L)|
Worcestershire improved their hopes of a One-Day Cup group top-three finish as they won a classic New Road derby with Warwickshire by three wickets.
In a game initially reduced by rain to 49 overs, Bears captain Ian Bell made 104 out of his side’s 304-5, Rikki Clarke weighing in with an unbeaten 84.
But Joe Clarke (56) and Ben Cox (49) put the hosts on course for a revised target of 241 in 34 overs.
Ross Whiteley and Joe Leach got the job done on 241-7, with 13 balls to spare.
Worcestershire climb back to second in the North Group, with two games to come, after handing already-eliminated holders Warwickshire their sixth straight defeat.
The group winners go straight through to the semi-final, with the teams finishing second and third entering a play-off to determine the other semi-finalist.
After overnight rain had delayed the start by half an hour, the Bears overcame the early loss of Jonathan Trott to post a competitive total, their second best in their seven group games.
It was built around Bell’s first century in any form of cricket in 13 months, since hitting 174 in the opening County Championship game of last season against Hampshire at Southampton.
The retired England one-day international shared stands of 52 for the second wicket with Sam Hain (34), 82 for the third wicket with Tim Ambrose (43) and 126 for the fourth wicket with Clarke.
Having accelerated well with 112 from the last 10 overs, Warwickshire were handed a further impetus when the rain began to fall at the end of their innings.
A further hour’s delay left the hosts looking at a required run-rate of seven and a half, rather than six runs per over – and they quickly looked like buckling.
England all rounder Moeen Ali was caught behind off Keith Barker, before early-season recruit Grant Thornton had Daryl Mitchell caught at deep midwicket, then strangled main danger man Tom Kohler-Cadmore down the leg side.
But Clarke and Cox rescued the innings before some lusty blows by Australia all-rounder John Hastings (36) paved the way for Whiteley (35 not out) and captain Leach to see their side home.
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
“It’s always a tremendous feeling to beat Warwickshire and especially to do it with a magnificent chase. It seemed that Duckworth-Lewis had done us no favours but we won relatively convincingly.
“It was hard work after losing the first four wickets but we always back the depth of our batting and it came good today.
“We felt that Warwickshire had not gone quickly enough on a good wicket and it was only Rikki Clarke who got them out of jail.”
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:
“This was a great toss to win. There was a lot of seam movement in that first 10 or 15 overs.
“We could been six down for not many. Rikki Clarke was fantastic and we did well to get 300.
“It felt good (to make his first century in 64 innings) but in a losing cause, it doesn’t mean a great deal.
“Individual stuff is great, but winning is what we are about. And it’s disappointing not to get over the line again.”