Shah returns to haunt Middlesex as Essex win at Lord's
|Friends Life t20, Lord's|
|Essex 155-5 beat Middlesex 150-5 by five wickets|
Owais Shah hit a dazzling 78 not out off just 50 balls as he returned to Lord's to help Essex to a five-wicket win over his old county Middlesex.
Tim Southee took 3-21 as Middlesex were limited to 150-5 from their 20 overs, Neil Dexter top scoring with 32.
But, after losing Ravi Bopara and Mark Pettini for ducks in successive overs, the belligerent Shah took over.
He hit five fours and five sixes, the last of them to seal victory as Essex reached 155-5 with two overs in hand.
James Foster (30no) helped steer Essex home in an unbroken 67-run stand with former England batsman Shah.
Having completed their 20 overs with the scoreboard showing 148-5, Middlesex were credited with an additional two runs when coaches Angus Fraser and Paul Grayson agreed that one of their sixes had incorrectly been credited as just a four.
But it was not enough to spoil Shah's revenge as he left his former county still winless in this summer's FL t20 South Group campaign.
The right-hander, who spent 15 years at Middlesex before he was surprisingly released last season, produced some sublime timing and footwork to ease Essex to their second win.
After starting with three straight defeats, Middlesex now face a Sussex side who have won their first three.
Essex are also in action again on Friday, starting their three-day tour match against the Sri Lankans at Chelmsford (1100 BST).
Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter told BBC London 94.9:
"We were 15 to 20 runs short. We lost wickets in clumps and scored only 46 runs off the last six overs.
"Bowlers bowled well up front but not at the end. Owais Shah is difficult to get out and was determined to score runs on his return.
"He played a chance-less innings. Had we got him out, it could have been a different game."
Essex batsman Owais Shah told BBC Essex:
"It was a huge innings for me. I'd played all my career at Middlesex, so it was very nice to come here and get a good score and take my new team tot he end and win the game for them.
"I don't think Middlesex got a bad score with their bowling line-up and a green pitch.
"They bowled very well early on and got wickets, but I drew on my experience and tried to hang in there and came out on top."