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Harry Brook stars as England battle to keep T20 World Cup defence alive

Heavy rain had threatened to derail the match against Namibia before a ball had been bowled.

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Harry Brook carried England to 121 for four in a rain-reduced 10-over thrash against Namibia, with the defending champions needing victory to keep their T20 World Cup hopes alive.

England appeared to be heading out of the tournament as heavy rain fell for almost three hours at Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, but conditions relented enough to get the teams out.

Brook struck 47 not out from just 20 balls, with four fours and two sixes, to give his bowlers plenty to work with but England could still exit with a win should Scotland upset Australia later.

Namibia were left chasing 127 on DLS, a stiff ask against the English attack, and more than they would have expected after a strong start with the ball.

England began their innings in nervy fashion, swinging frenetically but missing as the wily David Wiese allowed just one hasty single off the first over.

The pressure then dialled up another notch when the big left-armer Ruben Trumpelmann cleaned up Jos Buttler for a four-ball duck, toppling off stump via a deflection off the front pad.

England needed a release but instead put themselves further into trouble when a Wiese slower ball bamboozled Phil Salt, who was caught behind with his bat out to dry.

Jonny Bairstow, promoted to three in the absence of the dropped Will Jacks, got things moving with a reverse-swept four and a straight six off Bernard Scholz but was gifted a life when a nick off the next ball popped out of the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

Emboldened, England took 13 off the sixth over and 17 from the seventh, Brook starting well and depositing Durham’s Jack Brassell for six over long-on before Bairstow pulled Gerhard Erasmus hard and flat over midwicket.

A 56-run stand had got the rate up past 10 an over but the growing momentum was about to be checked again.

Bairstow might have been run out haring back for a second, spared by Erasmus’ scruffy take at the bowler’s end, but was soon gone anyway as he launched Scholz high off the toe of the bat and into Zane Green’s gloves.

Moeen Ali took exactly two deliveries to find his range, swatting Scholtz down the ground for six more before another brief rain break shaved an over off each innings.

With 12 balls left after the restart, England added another 40 runs in a crucial passage.

Brook worked the gaps expertly, ramping Brassell for four over his shoulder twice either side of a powerful smash that cleared the extra-cover boundary by 20 yards and Liam Livingstone flayed his first two balls for six after Moeen holed out.

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