Hamish Rutherford scored a third century in just five innings for Worcestershire as the super Rapids overcame Northamptonshire Steelbacks by 20 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup North Group clash at Wantage Road.

The New Zealander, who celebrates his 30th birthday tomorrow, struck a magnificent 126 and almost half of the Rapids final total of 254-9 in their 50 overs.

It followed on from his century in the Specsavers County Championship against Leicestershire and a hundred versus Lancashire Lightning in the One-Day Cup.

Rutherford glued the Rapids innings together and ensured they were able to post a competitive total.

He was aided in half century partnerships by acting skipper Brett D’Oliveira, keeper Ben Cox and Josh Tongue.

Then the Worcestershire bowlers got to work with Charlie Morris again making early inroads before D’Oliveira and Daryl Mitchell enjoyed success after completely tying down the Steelbacks batsmen when bowling in tandem – a combined tally of 20 overs for 68 runs and three wickets.

Ed Barnard and Wayne Parnell then worked their way through the lower middle order and the tail-enders as Northamptonshire were bowled out for 234 in 48.4 overs.

The Rapids have now won three of their opening four games in completing the first half of their North Group programme to lay a solid platform from which to push for qualification for the knockout stages for a fourth year on the trot.

When Worcestershire batted, Riki Wessels (1) tried to pull Ben Sanderson and was caught at short extra cover and then Tom Fell (1) fell to a fine one-handed diving catch at second slip by Richard Levi off the same bowler.

Mitchell (12) ballooned a delivery from Blessing Muzarabani into the mid on before D’Oliveira joined Rutherford at 23-3 to bring about a recovery.

The pair added 84 in 15 overs and Rutherford completed an excellent half century off 57 deliveries.

D’Oliveira (28) was undone by a delivery from Nathan Buck which bounced on him and was caught at backward point.

But Cox proved another solid partner in aiding Rutherford in a partnership of 59 in eight overs before he tried to sweep Josh Cobb and was lbw for a breezy 29 off 26 balls.

Only one run was added when Ross Whiteley (0) pushed forward and was bowled by Rob Keogh who then accounted for Ed Barnard (4) who went to pull around the corner and only picked out Ben Curran.

Parnell (11) lost his middle stump against Cobb to leave Worcestershire on 188-8 in the 40th over.

But Rutherford received invaluable support from Tongue during a stand of 59 in nine overs – a Worcestershire best for the ninth wicket in List A cricket against Northamptonshire and beating 51 by Cox and Barnard at the same venue in 2017.

Rutherford swept Keogh for four to complete a magnificent century from 117 balls out of 199-8 in the 43rd over. It contained one six and 11 other boundaries.

He was finally ninth out off the bowling of Buck in the penultimate over after making room and lofting a comfortable off side catch to leave Tongue unbeaten on 25.

Morris continued his excellent early season form by making two important breakthroughs when Northamptonshire began their reply.

Levi (19) was caught at mid-off and in his next over Morris accounted for Ben Curran (10) who fell in a similar position.

Cobb (44) and Alex Wakely (46) added 75 for the third wicket to take Northants to 116-2 in the 27th over.

D’Oliveira broke the stand when bowling Cobb after he came down the wicket and an admirable spell brought figures of 10-2-28-1.

Mitchell also gave little away and was rewarded with two scalps in his final two overs.

Wakeley played back and offered a comfortable return catch and Adam Rossington tried to sweep Mitchell and was lbw for a duck at 144-5 in the 24th over.

Mitchell finished with the fine figures of 10-0-40-2.

It became 183-6 when Keogh (29) mistimed a pull against Barnard and only succeeded in providing D’Oliveira with a straightforward chance at mid wicket.

Parnell came back into the attack and Ian Holland (9) threw the bat at a widish delivery and nicked through to Cox.

Buck (16) was lbw to a ball of full length from Barnard which gave him his second success.

Parnell brought proceedings to a swift conclusion with two wickets in two overs.

Cox took a sharp catch away to his right to send Sanderson (8) on his way back to the pavilion and Muzarabani (4) drilled the ball into the hands of Fell at short cover.

Barnard finished with figures of 10-0-49-2 and Parnell 7.4-0-45-3.