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June 16, 2008
Bevan, who averaged 53.58 in 232 ODIs, is widely considered the game's greatest finisher. Nerveless in a chase, always aware of turning singles into twos and adept at coaxing runs from the tail, he is often the benchmark to which other one-day batsmen aspire.
Shah cracked 49 from just 25 balls, hitting three big sixes and four fours to boost England's total to 307 for 5, simultaneously earning a rousing ovation from a packed Chester-le-Street. It was the type of quickfire innings in the closing overs which England's one-day team has yearned for and Shah, who averages 25.71 after six innings, is determined to make the No.6 spot his own.
"That is just batting at No. 6 in a one-day game," Shah said. "You either go in with five overs to go and have to get as many as you can. Or you go in four down for not many and you have to try to do something with another 25-30 overs to go - you have to be able to play both those roles.
"That is what Michael Bevan used to do and, I am not saying I am as good as Michael Bevan, but that is something I have to aim for."
On Sunday he came to the crease with six overs and one ball remaining in England's innings, joining Kevin Pietersen who was unbeaten on 94. His explosive innings paid off, though Shah admitted that he is more used to batting at No. 3 for Middlesex, not judging a match situation at No. 6.
"I don't really enjoy it, it is just something I have to do," he said. "A No. 6 has to be able to play those two roles. That is my opportunity, that is what I have got to do and that is what I have got to deliver.
"I would like to think I delivered yesterday. Sometimes it backfires, you try a shot and get out for one, caught at deep mid on because you have to get on with it. You have to teach yourself patience, you definitely do. There is more to it than having a big old hack. It might look like that is what I have done but you have to get the formula right, so you don't go too early but you don't go too late either."
The second one-dayer against New Zealand takes place on Wednesday at Edgbaston.
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