Owais Shah fired a brutal reminder of his quality to former club Middlesex as Hampshire stormed to NatWest T20 Blast glory at the Ageas Bowl.
The former England batsman, who spent 14 years at Lord’s, smashed an unbeaten 58 as the hosts posted 172 for three in the south group encounter last night.
He combined with Sean Ervine (42 not out) to add 85 runs in the final 6.2 overs of the Hampshire innings.
They plundered a whopping 42 from the last 12 balls – and the breathtaking contribution proved crucial.
While 36-year-old Shah felt the hosts were a little below par at the halfway mark, Hampshire restricted the visitors to just 153 for six in reply to seal a 19-run success.
It was a third win of the campaign for James Vince & Co, who leapfrogged their opponents into second spot in the table.
Shah, who smashed five sixes in his 33-ball knock, played down his role in the triumph.
But he admitted the key was staying calm when the run-rate slowed following Michael Carberry’s opening salvo of 57 in 46 deliveries.
The man-of-the-match said: ‘I didn’t panic.
‘I wanted to keep calm and get a partnership going.
‘It’s basic cricket but that is what I try to stick to.
‘If you get a partnership going you don’t know where you’re going to end up.
‘It was a very good partnership with Sean but that’s twenty20 cricket.
‘Things can change over a period of three or four overs and it did for us.
‘I’m glad I finally struck a few balls in the middle, got some sixes going and got my own campaign moving.
‘Sean was brilliant. He came in, hit some boundaries and took the pressure off me which was amazing.
‘It was a very good win against my old county. At the halfway point we were possibly 10 runs light but the bowlers bowled very well. Credit goes to them.’
Hampshire’s total owed much to the breathtaking final flourish of Shah and Ervine.
The duo plundered four sixes and two fours in the final two overs of the innings – bowled by Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn.
Carberry had earlier got the hosts off to a good start but Hampshire were in danger of losing their way when James Vince (nine) chopped on and Jimmy Adams (three) picked out Nick Compton on the fence at square leg.
After the break, Yasir Arafat (two for 21) and Chris Wood (two for 38) helped reduce Middlesex to 68 for three in the 11th over.
Will Smith (one for 21) then struck a crucial blow when he had England one-day skipper Eoin Morgan caught by Arafat for 28.
James Franklin (31) and John Simpson (31) offered late resistance but the damage was done.