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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 17:10 GMT

Stewart satisfied with win
England gather around stand-in skipper Alec Stewart
England worked very hard to win

Stand-in captain Alec Stewart was upbeat despite England labouring to beat of World Cup debutants Namibia in Port Elizabeth.

A rollicking 85 from Jan-Berry Burger put the outsiders in with a real chance of chasing down England's fair total of 272 all out.

But class shone through in the end with England prevailing by 55 runs, a comfortable but unconvincing margin.

"First of all, a win is a win and we've won by nearly 60 runs which is a big margin," said Stewart, who led England for the first time since June, 2001 after Nasser Hussain withdrew with a stiff neck.

"Credit to the opposition, they relished the run-chase but at the end of the day we won and won well.

"Obviously Burger played exceptionally well for them."

Most of England's batsmen got starts but were unable to post a big score, with Stewart's 60 the highest of all.

Nasser should be right for our next game on Saturday
Alec Stewart

Although he would have liked one of his batsmen to reach triple figures, Stewart said a determined display in the field by Namibia made things hard.

"They were as keen as mustard from ball one and they maintained that throughout the 50 overs," he said.

"The right total was probably 300 but on a slow wicket, which wasn't easy to bat on, especially with their medium pace bowlers, we would have taken 270.

"You've got to be a little bit critical and maybe one or two of us should have gone on and got a bigger total.

"But it's has been a while since we all had a bat in a one-day international."

Stewart said he was happy to take the captaincy but would have no qualms handing it back to Hussain.

"I haven't done it for a while, but when they asked me to do it first thing this morning I said 'yes'.

"Nasser's had this problem for the last 36 hours and he's getting treatment hourly.

"He should be right for our next game on Saturday."

England face tough opponents - Pakistan, India and Australia - in their three remaining group games.

"The three big ones are coming up now, but we've played two and won two so if we can continue that we've got a great chance of qualifying for the Super Six," Stewart said.

"We're a pretty closely knit squad and the happenings of the last few weeks have brought us together.

"When we have a few hardships then we rally around and support each other."

Links to more England stories


England coach Duncan Fletcher
"They gave us a scare"

England batsman Alec Stewart
"We were always ahead"

Full scorecard
20 Feb 03 |  World Cup
Namibia make England toil for win
19 Feb 03 |  Photo Galleries

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