GARY BALLANCE scored a brilliant unbeaten 152 to steer Yorkshire towards the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals and knock Northamptonshire out of the competition.

The Yorkshire captain guided his side away from trouble at 73 for four with a controlled innings that accelerated perfectly, helping his side reach 300 for six.

Northants quickly slumped to 11 for four in reply on their way to a 164-run defeat that ended their 50-over hopes.

Ballance has enjoyed an outstanding start to the season and at Wantage Road added a one-day century to the three already posted in the County Championship.

He needed all of his calm, controlled method to gain Yorkshire a foothold in the innings after the top four had failed.

He began with consecutive boundaries off Richard Gleeson and took his third four as Gleeson returned for a second spell.

Playing late with soft hands, he ran a further two boundaries to the fine third man rope before bringing up a half-century in 57 balls with seven fours.

Ballance's form was obvious but he needed a partner and found one in Matthew Waite, the 24-year-old playing just his 11th first-team game for Yorkshire.

He survived a straightforward missed stumping on two that would have seen the innings slump to 89 for five but thereafter ground out 41 and a partnership of 105 for the fifth wicket.

The stand set the innings up at 187 for five after 40 overs and the platform for an onslaught that added 113 runs in the final 10 overs and swung the match decisively Yorkshire's way.

Ballance enjoyed a slice of fortune before reaching three figures with a leg-side swing against Gleeson that flew for his first six over fine third man and in Gleeson's next over, eased a single to raise a splendid hundred - his seventh in List A cricket - in 97 balls.

He then struck three consecutive fours to help take 17 from the 46th over bowled by Gleeson and then swung his third six over square leg as 18 came from the penultimate over.

At the other end, Adil Rashid was missed at long-on on two and dropped by Alex Wakely in the same position on 20.

Rashid made 41 from 35 balls in a supporting role as Ballance found remarkable acceleration, adding 75 runs in just 33 balls.

It was a burst that knocked the stuffing out of Northants, whose chase was liquidated in just 16 balls of the second innings.

Josh Cobb pushed forward to a Ben Coad delivery that moved gently away to take the outside edge through to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Richard Levi pressed the next delivery down the ground for four and sent the next straight to Peter Handscomb at deep square-leg.

David Willey forced a tentative prod from Ben Duckett that he inside-edged into his middle stump and three balls later brought a full ball back into the pads of Rob Newton to trap him lbw.

Thereafter there was brief hitting from Adam Rossington and Rory Kleinveldt, who both made 31, before Graeme White struck four sixes in a List A-best 40 from 26 balls.

When he holed out to long-on, Northants were quickly bowled out for 136 with 22 overs still remaining.