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Worcestershire Rapids (H) – 27 May 2016

Birmingham Bears will launch their 2016 NatWestT20Blast campaign with a mouth-watering home clash against their old rivals from beside the Severn.

The Rapids’ visit forms the first instalment of a home T20 triple-header on successive Friday evenings at Edgbaston and it’s set to be a cracker as the top two teams in last year’s North Group go head-to-head.

Who can forget the 2005 tussle when the Bears needed 20 from three balls?

Brian Halford, Club Journalist

Runners-up to the Bears in 2015, the Rapids will arrive at Edgbaston striving to go one better this time round and it’s sure to be a fantastic duel between the Bears’ Ian Bell-led batting unit and Pears bowlers including New Zealand pair paceman Matt Henry and spinner Mitchell Santner.

Birmingham’s own Kiwi star Jeetan Patel will aim to pose a few problems to a Rapids side which has fought out some wonderful matches at Edgbaston over the years. Who can forget the 2005 tussle when the Bears needed 20 from three balls and, thanks to a no ball from Nadeem Malik, almost got them as Heath Streak cleared the ropes twice?

Overall, the Bears are shading the head-to-head, having won 14 of the 22 matches between the sides since 2003. In total, Bears batsmen have scored an impresive 11 T20 half-centuries against the Rapids, five of them coming from Jonathan Trott with two from Varun Chopra and one apiece from Streak, Jim Troughton, Darren Maddy and Nick Knight.

With the rivals firmly established as two of the best T20 teams in the country, another cracker of a contest lies in store on May 27.

Snap up some tickets

Tickets are on sale at Edgbaston.com/Tickets and are priced at £15 in the Early Bird window. Prices will rise on 20th April to £19. As ever all Under 16s have FREE entry to every group game fixture, but must be accompanied by an adult.