Moeen Ali is preparing to play his first Vitality Blast derby in a Bears shirt – and admits it’ll add even extra spice to what’s set to be a night to remember.

The England all-rounder has faced the Bears 14 times in T20s for Worcestershire since moving to New Road from Edgbaston as a teenager in 2006.

But the Bears v Rapids derby on Friday 12 July (6.30pm start) will be his first since re-signing for his boyhood club.

“It’ll be an emotional night,” said Ali, who returned to the Bears line-up at Notts Outlaws on Sunday, taking two wickets, following his return from the T20 World Cup.

“Any Bears versus Rapids game is a big occasion. It’ll be a packed house, incredible atmosphere. The biggest Blast game of the season.

“I can say that it doesn’t matter who you play against, it’s about winning games, but the reality is that Friday at Edgbaston will be extra special for me.

“It’s going to be difficult because I was there for many years. I’ve lots of good friends at New Road, my brother is there (coach Kadeer Ali). But there’s a job to be done, so obviously I’ll be doing my best to beat them.

“There will be a lot of emotions. I’ll be excited first and foremost. Once I cross the line I’ll do what I need to do to win the game. It’s going to be a special night.”

Ali has taken seven wickets and scored 439 runs against the Bears in those 14 T20 derby games, including his mesmerizing 115 in just 56 balls at Edgbaston in 2018. That included twelve 4s and seven huge 6s.

And the 37-year-old is hoping for more fireworks with the bat on Friday as Bears look to cement a place in the Vitality Blast Quarter Finals for the fourth consecutive year.

“It’s great to be back and hopefully I’ll play all the remaining games,” added Ali.

“It’s difficult being on England duty, obviously last year I missed quite a few Blast games, so it’s nice to be back for the final run and help the boys. I think this year is the year we can go all the way.”

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