Shah signs off in style
Middlesex 196 for 3 beat Derbyshire 195 for 9 by seven wickets
Former England batsman Owais Shah marked his final one-day appearance for Middlesex with an unbeaten half-century that helped steer the Panthers to a comfortable seven-wicket Clydesdale Bank 40 win over Derbyshire at Lord's.
The 31-year-old, who learned on Tuesday that he would not be offered a new contract, showed Middlesex supporters what they will be missing next year by playing a watchful knock that sealed his side's third win of a disappointing campaign with 11 balls to spare.
After the early loss of England Test captain Andrew Strauss for seven, the left-hander had his off stump pegged back after playing back to a Graham Wagg off-cutter, Middlesex marched toward victory with a second-wicket stand of 127 in 20 overs between Scott Newman and Shah.
Newman, dropped on 38 when Wes Durston downed a stinging overhead catch at mid-wicket off a rasping pull shot, was just 10 short of his second century in this season's competition when his 89-ball stay ended. Aiming to drive through the covers against off-spinner Jake Needham, the left-hander mistimed his back-foot force to give Wayne Madsen a comfortable catch to short cover and make it 139 for two.
Having been content to play second fiddle hitherto, Shah upped his tempo after Newman's departure to reach his second CB40 half-century of the campaign from 85 balls and after two hours at the crease.
Needham struck again to have Dawid Malan (8) well held at slip by Jonathan Clare off an edged late cut but Shah, who is being linked with a move to Essex, stood firm to finish on 58 not out as Gareth Berg (21 not out) hit the winning boundary.
After crumbling to 32 for 3 inside seven overs, the Derbyshire innings was underpinned by 19-year-old Chesney Hughes with a top- scoring 64 from 59 balls. Returning to the scene of his first-class debut here at Lord's in May, Hughes batted with poise and power beyond his years to hit six fours and a six, pulled into the Mound Stand of Tim Murtagh, during his entertaining stay.
Having been invited to bat first, the visitors lost Dan Redfern (9) to the 13th delivery of the match when he drove on the up against Murtagh only to pick out Berg at backward point.
England paceman Steve Finn, having been named as the Cricket Writers' Club young player of the season in London last night showed his class with two wickets in the space of four balls - Greg Smith (5) and Durston (0) both caught behind - on his way to figures of 2 for 40.
Derbyshire fought back with a fourth-wicket stand worth 82 in 15.5 overs between Hughes and Madsen, the latter contributing 39 in an hour-and-a-half and with only one boundary. The departure of Hughes, who drove straight to mid-on against left-arm spinner Tom Smith, sparked a secondary collapse with Smith to the forefront with three for 26 from his eight, tight overs.
He bowled Steven Adshead and then ended Madsen's stay by enticing his down the pitch and turning one past the bat to give John Simpson a simple stumping. Wagg's unbeaten 48 from 53 deliveries just about ensured the Falcons batted through their overs but Middlesex found the asking rate of 4.9 an over for victory well within their compass.