WORCESTERSHIRE’S record-equalling opener Hamish Rutherford is returning to Blackfinch New Road for the rest of the season.

The New Zealander replaces Callum Ferguson as overseas player for the final stages of the Vitality Blast and County Championship programme.

Rutherford is due to fly into England on Thursday in time to be under consideration for Friday’s Vitality Blast derby with Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston (7pm).

Ferguson is returning home to Australia for personal reasons after linking up with Worcestershire for a second spell in early May.

Rutherford, 30, became only the second player to score a century on first-class and list A debut for the County at the start of the season.

He hit 123 in the Championship match at Leicestershire and followed it with 108 on his Royal London One-Day Cup debut at Lancashire plus 126 at Northamptonshire in the same competition.

The only other County player to complete a first class-list A hundred double on their debut was Australian Phil Jaques in 2006.

Cricket steering group chairman Paul Pridgeon said: “Hamish is returning for the final part of the season and looking forward to coming back.

“He made a great impression with the bat and forged a nice bond with the boys.

“Callum is leaving here early for personal reasons which we fully respect.”

Rutherford, the son of ex-New Zealand captain Ken, has played 16 Tests, four ODIs and seven T20Is for the Black Caps.

Meanwhile, Martin Guptill is in the New Zealand squad for three T20Is in Sri Lanka next month.

The Rapids player will be in action on September 1, 3 and 6 with all matches in Kandy, meaning he will be unavailable for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals should the County qualify.

It will be Guptill’s first international action since being part of the New Zealand side who narrowly lost to England in the ICC World Cup final.

The 32-year-old has made a big impact so far in the 2019 Blast and is Rapids' leading run-scorer as well as topping the averages.

He has totalled 232 at an average of 33.40 with a strike-rate of 143.20 in helping Rapids to second spot in the North Group.

Also part of the New Zealand squad are former County players Colin Munro and Mitchell Santner.

A strong Worcestershire seconds side overpowered their Gloucestershire counterparts in two T20 matches at Blackfinch New Road.

They triumphed by 50 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in game one and then by nine wickets.

Guptill made his mark in both games with bat and ball as he picked up a combined total of seven wickets for 17 runs.

In game one, the County made 121-4 in a rain-reduced 14 overs thanks to Guptill's 42 and Ross Whiteley's 46 not out off 27 balls.

Gloucestershire, facing a re-adjusted target of 130, fell for 79 in 13.2 overs with Mitchell Stanley taking three wickets in 10 balls and a total of four alongside Pat Brown (3-18) and Guptill (2-8).

The second game saw the visitors skittled for 72 with Guptill claiming 5-9 from three overs, Adam Finch 3-8 and Whiteley 2-20.

In reply, Guptill (46no off 19 balls) and Fell (28) hurried the County to victory in just 5.3 overs.

Worcestershire will hold a members' forum with club chairman Fanos Hira and vice-chairman Pridgeon on Tuesday, September 10.

It will be in the Graeme Hick Pavilion at 9.30am ahead of the opening day of the Championship encounter with Glamorgan.