Worcestershire 225 for 6 (Kohler-Cadmore 127) beat Durham 187 for 8 (Mustard 64, Leach 5-33) by 38 runs
Tom Kohler-Cadmore provided an explosive start to the NatWest T20 Blast, hours after learning that his Worcestershire team-mate Tom Fell had been given the all-clear to resume his career after chemotherapy.
Kohler-Cadmore, 21, had his head shaved to raise money for Cancer Research after Fell suffered a second cancer scare before the start of the season. Worcestershire announced before they launched the Blast season with a home game against Durham Jets that Fell had been given the all-clear - and Kohler-Cadmore celebrated by smashing 127 from 54 balls, the highest score for the county in 14 years of T20 cricket.
He hit eight sixes, two of them over the stands and into New Road, in beating the unbeaten 116 hit by Worcester legend Graeme Hick against Northants at Luton in 2004.
He reached three figures in 43 balls, the sixth fastest in the domestic T20 competition - one ball slower than the Worcestershire record set by Ben Smith in 2005.
The Rapids - who have reached the quarter finals in three of the last four seasons but have still to make it to Finals Day - piled up 225 for 6 - enough to set up a 38-run win.
Phil Mustard led a brave effort with 64 off 49 balls and they were not out of contention until Joe Leach accounted for Ryan Pringle (21) and Calum MacLeod (0) in four balls in the 15th over.
Leach followed that with the dismissal of Mustard, caught at deep mid-wicket after hitting eight fours, but it was Kohler-Cadmore's night from the start and later to be embellished with three catches, one of these completing Leach's return of 5 for 33, his best in the completion.
New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner also made an important contribution with 2 for 29 on his debut as Durham came up short with 187 for eight after batting for much of the innings in appalling light.
Worcestershire are one of only two counties without floodlights - with Somerset progressing with an application which will soon leave them in an embarrassing, not to say vulnerable, situation.
Kohler-Cadmore scored three fifties in last season's group matches, with a top score of 75 against Nottinghamshire, and was pencilled in to open this summer following the departure of Richard Oliver.
The move produced spectacular results in a murderous phase in which he took 28 off Barry McCarthy in the fifth over and then blasted fours off the next three balls he faced in the following over by Ryan Pringle.
On reaching his half century in 21 balls, he had scored 48 runs in boundaries and when he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Paul Coughlin in the 15th over, his innings included eight sixes and 14 fours from 54 deliveries.
In his first senior appearance since a back injury in June last year, Coughlin took two for 43, a respectable return in the circumstances, but for McCarthy it was a match to forget.
His figures of one for 63 in four overs are the most expensive by a Durham bowler in the competition - and this in the week when he took a career-best five for 70 in the championship victory over Lancashire.
The total is the biggest against Durham in T20 cricket and for Worcestershire it is their highest at New Road but two short of their best against Northamptonshire in 2007 when they were forced to move to Kidderminster following severe flooding at their headquarters.
Kohler-Cadmore's domination of partnerships was such that Joe Clarke made nine out of 73 until he was caught at long-on - the first of two wickets in an over for Scottt Borthwick - and Ross Whiteley contributed 19 out of 74 before he was caught on the straight boundary, a consolation success for McCarthy. Brett D'Oliveira then gave the innings a final surge with an undefeated 39 from 21 balls.