MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Harry Brook could hardly be doing any more to convince England to take him to the Cricket World Cup.
Brook smashed 67 off 36 balls, teaming up with Jonny Bairstow, 86 not out off 60, to help England post a total of 198-4 that proved too much for New Zealand in the second Twenty20 of the four-match series on Friday.
The New Zealanders were dismissed for 103, losing by 95 runs in Manchester to fall 2-0 behind in the series.
Brook starred in the first T20, too, when he hit 43 not out off 27 balls in England’s seven-wicket win in Durham on Wednesday.
Dovetailed with his stunning performances in the latest edition of The Hundred, Brook is delivering quite the riposte across the shorter formats to being left out of England’s provisional 15-man squad for the 50-over World Cup in India starting next month.
England selectors preferred other batters in the middle order because of the versatility they provide — No. 3 Dawid Malan can also open, Liam Livingstone offers spin bowling — but Brook is putting up a strong argument. England must submit its final squad on Sept. 28 so there’s still time for the selectors to change their minds.
Brook whacked five sixes along with his five fours as part of a devastating 131-run partnership with Bairstow for the third wicket that saw New Zealand’s bowlers sent to all corners of Old Trafford.
Bairstow bludgeoned four sixes and eight fours while Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler also cleared the rope to help set an imposing target.
In the reply, debutant pacer Gus Atkinson took the wicket of Devon Conway (2) off his fourth delivery in international cricket, and the other opener, Finn Allen, was dismissed by Sam Curran as the Kiwis slumped to 8-2.
New Zealand tried to accelerate but Brook took catches near the boundary edge to remove Glenn Phillips (22) and Mark Chapman (15). When Daryl Mitchell was caught behind first ball, the writing was on the wall for the tourists, who were skittled in 13.5 overs and can only draw the series.
Tim Seifert was the top scorer with 39 off 31 balls and Atkinson had 4-20, the best figures for an England player on his T20 debut.
The third T20 takes place at Edgbaston on Sunday. The teams also play four ODIs this month to warm up for the World Cup.
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