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Mixed emotions for Morgan

Eoin Morgan was left to dwell upon a second five-run defeat in three days after New Zealand took a 1-0 lead in the two-match NatWest Twenty20 series.

Morgan, standing in for skipper Stuart Broad in this rubber, was part of the side that narrowly lost to India in Sunday’s Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston.

There was a sense of déjà vu at the Kia Oval today as England suffered defeat by the same margin.

This reverse came against a New Zealand side that posted a mammoth 201 for four on a fine surface after being asked to bat.

Yet Morgan could not be too downhearted given the hosts made a fine fist in reply, falling just short on 196 for five.

“It's not very enjoyable to not get over the line,” admitted the stand-in skipper. “I think the guys showed great intent and strength of character throughout the whole game particularly when we bowled.

“I challenged the guys to stay in the game throughout because it was a good wicket with a short boundary on one side.

“With the big hitters we have in the middle order it was very much within our capabilities.

“It's very small margins, especially in Twenty20 cricket on a very good wicket. One blow and we would have won the game.

“There is not a great deal to be disappointed about and hopefully we can turn it around for Thursday.”

England’s hopes of “turning it around” will certainly be boosted by having Kevin Pietersen available.

Pietersen returned from a three-month lay-off last week to strike an exceptional 177 not out for Surrey, whetting the appetite for his return to England colours.

“Kevin is a huge part of English cricket and has been for a long time,” added Morgan. “What he brings to the table, probably very few people at the world can.

“He can take the game away from you at any stage and we saw during the week the way he performed; he takes a lot of pride in when he goes out there and bats. He looks in good form.

“It's a very relaxed environment that we have going on at the moment and hopefully he'll come in and do well.”

The hosts may well need Pietersen firing on all cylinders if Brendon McCullum keeps up his form; the number three’s 68 supported Hamish Rutherford’s 62 to see the Black Caps to a winning score.

The skipper said: “I was happy (with the score). Once we got off to a good start, I’d have liked 40 more but we still knew 200 was a tough chase no matter how good the wicket was or how good a start they got off to.

“We knew we had to keep taking wickets and luckily got them at key times.”

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