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Brook and Bairstow shine as England survive rain and Namibia to stay in T20 World Cup

ANTIGUA: Watching rain fall doesn’t sound like a nail-biting pastime, but for England, the hours waiting to start their final group match of this T20 World Cup against Namibia were gripping. England’s eventual victory by 41 runs in a match reduced to 10 overs per side in Antigua on Saturday was pure relief for the defending champions.

No result other than a win would have kept England in contention for the Super Eight phase, but they had to get on the park for that. After the toss was delayed by three hours – won by Namibia, who chose to bowl first – they finally had the chance to control their own destiny, to a point. The equation was simple: England had to beat Namibia and then wait to see whether Australia defeated Scotland to ensure they joined the Australians in progressing from Group B.
Showers before the scheduled start returned to Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in the form of a torrential downpour just as it looked like the covers would be lifted. England had to hold onto hope of a reduced-overs match despite the rain appearing to have set in. Eventually, play began at 4 pm local time, reduced to 11 overs per side, which became 10 when rain intervened once more, albeit briefly, with England 82 for 3 after eight overs.

Harry Brook’s unbeaten 47 off 20 balls and Jonny Bairstow’s 31 off 18 steadied England from a perilous 13 for 2, the pair sharing a 56-run stand for the third wicket to help lift their side to 122 for 5. With Namibia chasing a DLS-adjusted target of 126, England’s bowlers didn’t allow them to score fast enough and secured a comfortable victory after a torturous wait.

In the end, the defending champions overcame early stumbles and a tense rain delay to keep their T20 World Cup hopes alive. Now, England’s fate hinges on the result of the Australia vs. Scotland match, but for now, they have done all they can to stay in the tournament.

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