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England edged out in run-fest

England narrowly failed to complete a record run-chase as New Zealand moved 1-0 ahead in the two-match NatWest Twenty20 international series with a five-run win at the Kia Oval.

After the hosts won the toss, New Zealand posted a mammoth 201 for four on the back of half-centuries from Hamish Rutherford and Brendon McCullum.

England, requiring a highest-ever chase in this format, batted well in their reply yet fell just short on 196 for five despite Luke Wright's 52.

Boyd Rankin, who impressed on his debut for England, got off to a dream start when having James Franklin caught behind via an inside-edge in the first over.

Yet that scalp merely heralded the arrival of McCullum, who joined forces with Rutherford in a fierce 114-run stand.

The former, in particular, struck the ball sweetly, targeting the short boundary to great effect off James Tredwell.

Luke Wright dragged things back a little, dismissing Rutherford for 62 and McCullum for 68, but New Zealand still left England with plenty to do.

Eoin Morgan’s side were given the perfect start by Michael Lumb’s quick 29 featuring punchy strokes all around the wicket.

He was bowled by Nathan McCullum, but it appeared Alex Hales – with 39 – and Wright had set up the chase perfectly.

Hales, having endured a poor run of recent form for Notts, at times looked ungainly – in stark contrast to the instantly assured Wright.

The  Sussex man manipulated the field perfectly in between some lusty blows and even when he edged an expansive drive off Mitchell McClenaghan behind, England were in good shape.

Yet Jos Buttler, having ramped six early in the penultimate over off Ian Butler, was then run out at the non-striker’s end by smart work from Tom Latham to leave 16 needed off the final over.

Ben Stokes initially was undeterred, heaving Corey Anderson over midwicket for a maximum off the first ball.

The left-arm seamer responded impressively, though, with Stokes and Ravi Bopara failing to get England over the line.

England Innings (watch highlights here)

England need 16 runs from the last over...

1st ball - Ben Stokes whips Anderson for SIX over midwicket.

2nd ball - A wild heave from the batsman and it's a DOT BALL.

3rd ball - A mis-timed pull goes for ONE; Bopara, a crowd favourite, on strike.

4th ball - As chants of 'Oh Ravi Bopara' echo around the ground, Anderson concedes just ONE. Eight off two balls needed.

5th ball - Stokes fails to time a pull and picks up just ONE. SIX NEEDED FOR A SUPER OVER.

6th ball - Bopara fails to make the desired connection, gets a single and NEW ZEALAND WIN BY FIVE RUNS.

9:46pm - WICKET! Buttler run out Latham 17; England 184/5 - RAMP-AGE! Buttler gets the scoop out and namesake - albeit spelt differently - Ian Butler watches his first ball fly away for six. However, after back-to-back singles, the batsman misses an attempt to repeat the trick and is amazingly run out at the non-striker's end by Latham.

9:40pm - Nathan McCullum sends down a boundary-less over that goes for nine; England require 26 from 12 balls.

9:32pm - With the required run-rate rising, Jos Buttler wastes little time in crunching Buttler for four over cover and, in the next over, Bopara pulls and drives boundaries off Corey Anderson before flicking a six over square-leg.

9:25pm - WICKET! Wright c Latham b McClenaghan 52; England 139/4 - Huge wicket for New Zealand as Wright falls at the end of a fine over, edging an expansive drive behind. Those of you keen to see the first-innings highlights, click here; those who want to follow this game ball-by-ball, follow this link.

9:17pm - WICKET! Morgan c Taylor b Butler 7; England 134/3 - My eyebrows were raised because Brendon McCullum had a slip in at this stage of the game. What do I know?! Morgan edges a cut and Ross Taylor takes an absolutely incredible one-handed catch above his head.

9:14pm - FIFTY! Wright (29b 6x4 1x6) - Top hitting, Wrighty! Lovely stuff from the number three, who brings up a fine half-century with a single having pulled the previous Butler delivery for four.

9:08pm - Wright looks in fine touch here, hitting his first six when punishing a Hira full-toss over midwicket before driving a McClenaghan slower ball through cover.

9pm - WICKET! Hales c Franklin b Hira 39; England 105/2 - Wright continues to look in fine nick, pulling and clubbing McCullum for leg-side boundaries. He loses Hales soon after, though, as the opener hits a Hira full-toss straight to deep midwicket.

8:54pm - MISSED CHANCE! - After Wright slaps Roneel Hira powerfully down the ground for four, the boundaries briefly dry up and Hales - who still does not seem fully in nick - moves down the pitch off the left-arm spinner. He is relieved to see Tom Latham spurn a stumping chance, and celebrates with a pulled four.

8:43pm - Outstanding stuff in the powerplay from England, who are 67 for one after just six overs. Hales looks well set on 28, with Luke Wright busy having cover-driven McCullum for four off the first ball he faced.

8:34pm - WICKET! Lumb b McCullum 29; England 50/1 - Brendon McCullum introduces his brother, off-spinner Nathan, and immediately regrets it as Hales strikes four over long-on and Lumb a six in the same area. However, the tweaker responds by darting in a yorker that bowls the latter via an inside-edge on to pad.

8:31pm - England are off to a real flier here. Alex Hales, who has been in dreadful touch for Nottinghamshire, whips McClenaghan over square-leg for six and then strikes four off a front-foot no-ball. The left-arm seamer responds with a fine yorker as the free-hit yields only a leg bye, but sees his over go for 25 as Lumb follows up a flicked four over midwicket with two more aerial boundaries through the off side.

8:25pm - Mitchell McClenaghan, who was outstanding during the Champions Trophy, immediately beats Michael Lumb's edge with successive deliveries in a fine opening over of England's reply. The left-hander has no such issues against Ian Butler, flicking the paceman nonchalantly over square-leg for six.

New Zealand Innings (watch highlights here)

7:59pm - END OF INNINGS - New Zealand 201/4; Taylor 32* - The penultimate set of six, sent down by Ben Stokes, goes for just nine - which is very good on this pitch! - with Taylor delivering the only four via a flick over midwicket. The final over, meanwhile, sees Dernbach concede a mere seven; having been edged for four by Latham, the paceman ousts the left-hander as he skies an attempted heave to Bopara at point. 

7:56pm - Cricket can be a cruel game. Dernbach sees a fine over ruined when Tom Latham top-edges an attempted hook for six. Ross Taylor follows that up with a fine punch over long-on off Wright, and New Zealand are 185 for three after 18 overs.

7:44pm - WICKET! McCullum b Wright 68; New Zealand 161/3 - Wright never seems to let England down with the ball, and so it has proved again today. McCullum gives himself room yet can only bottom-edge a full delivery into his stumps.

7:42pm - Maybe they haven't dragged it back! McCullum opens his shoulders when crunching Bopara for a huge six over long-on, which he follows up with a couple of lusty fours.

7:34pm - FIFTY! McCullum (36b 5x4 1x6) - After McCullum moves to 50, Rankin ends a fine spell with figures of 4-0-24-1. England have just dragged things back a little, with Wright posing problems at the other end.

7:25pm - WICKET! Rutherford c Hales b Wright 62; New Zealand 115/2 - Finally England have another breakthrough. Rutherford goes for another big shot off Luke Wright, in the midst of a fine first over, and his leading edge picks out Alex Hales in the deep.

7:16pm - FIFTY! Rutherford (28b 6x4 3x6) - England cannot be enjoying this; Rutherford brings up his first international half-century in this format with a swept four off Tredwell. The tourists are on course for a total of over 200, particularly after the left-hander crunches another maximum over long-on!

7:08pm - This is sensational from New Zealand - particularly Rutherford, who slog-sweeps and smashes James Tredwell for successive sixes.

6:59pm - New Zealand end the six-over powerplay on 54 for one after McCullum drives a Dernbach slower ball down the ground for four.

6:55pm - MISSED CHANCE! - The Kia Oval is almost full and those in attendance will not regret their decision. The England supporters are disappointed when Ravi Bopara shells Rutherford at point off Jade Dernbach, but can only cheer as McCullum hits an extraordinary six in the following over; beaten for pace by Rankin, he top-edges high into the stands.

6:45pm - Having got off to a poor start, suddenly New Zealand are 34 for one after three overs as Rutherford guides and pulls Rankin for fours.

6:40pm - Brendon McCullum enters the fray and immediately punishes Rankin for over-pitching when driving four down the ground. Rankin's Warwickshire team-mate Chris Woakes is off to a disappointing start as Hamish Rutherford whips four over square-leg, a six in the same area and drives another boundary over mid-off; McCullum then cuts to the fence in an over costing 19. If you want to keep up with the action ball-by-ball to go alongside my uninspiring words, click here.

6:33pm - WICKET! Franklin c Buttler b Rankin 0; New Zealand 1/1 - What a start for Boyd Rankin! Delivering the ball at around 90mph in his first over for England, the paceman nips one back to James Franklin - who inside-edges behind for a golden duck.

Pre-Play News

6:28pm - The players are heading on to the field and we're almost ready for the action.

6:19pm - Here is the New Zealand XI: Hamish Rutherford, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Nathan McCullum, Corey Anderson, Ian Butler, Roneel Hira, Mitchell McClenaghan.

6:10pm - ENGLAND WIN TOSS & BOWL - England skipper Eoin Morgan has called correctly at the coin-flip and asked the Black Caps to bat first.

6:04pm - Boyd Rankin will make his England debut. The hosts' side is much-changed from the one that lost the Champions Trophy final against India on Sunday, with this encounter representing a fine opportunity for some of those on the periphery. Here is the XI: Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Jade Dernbach, Rankin.

5:55pm - Hello and welcome to our live commentary of the first of two Twenty20 internationals between England and New Zealand at the Kia Oval.

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