Alex Hales' return to the England team does not appear imminent after limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan suggested "more time" is needed before the opener can be forgiven.

Hales has not played for his country in any format since March 2019 after he was removed from the Cricket World Cup squad following an "off-field incident", with reports claiming he served a suspension for failing a drugs test.

England went on to win that tournament but Morgan has not forgotten how his team's preparations were disrupted by Hales.

All-rounder Chris Woakes recently stated he would welcome Hales back into the fold, but ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is due to begin in Australia in October, Morgan stressed he does not think enough water has passed under the bridge.

"Alex is in a unique position, probably in a position nobody else has found themselves in before," Morgan told reporters.

"On the cusp of a World Cup, the huge breakdown in trust between him and the players was extremely dramatic, given the circumstances surrounding the four years and the build-up and the way things unfolded.

"I've spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back to playing cricket but, like in life and in any sport, when there's a breakdown of trust, the only healer in that is time.

"It's only been 12 or 13 months since the incident which could have cost us four years of hard work.

"Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, I think it might take some more time, yes."

Hales, 31, scored the second most runs in last season's Big Bash League and Morgan is the only English batsman to have scored more runs than him in T20 internationals.

His unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains the highest individual score for an England player.

"It's obviously not about performance with Alex," Morgan added.

"Alex is a fantastic player, it's never been discussed whether he's good enough to be in the squad or not.

"Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field, values we adhere to or do our best to adhere to, and Alex showed complete disregard for them.

"Building up that for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line."

England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan believes international cricket taking place behind closed doors during the English summer could be good for the nation's morale.

Morgan and his team-mates are, like most other elite athletes around the globe, in a state of flux at present as the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic have the knock-on effect of bringing sporting schedules to a halt.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has postponed the start of its domestic season until May 28 and on Tuesday announced a £61million relief package to help the game withstand the financial impact of coronavirus.

England have Test series planned against West Indies and Pakistan over the coming months, with the latter joining Australia in facing Morgan's side in white-ball series.

Morgan joked that playing before empty stands would not be much different to some of his experiences in the County Championship, but he feels televised sport could provide a rallying point for the general public.

"I've played county cricket for a long time and I've played Test cricket in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s the exact same, I would say," said the 33-year-old, who also underlined his intention to skipper England at the next two T20 World Cups, even if this year's edition in Australia is postponed.

"From a very serious point of view, if medical experts came and advised us that it was okay to play behind closed doors and it was on TV, I think that would be a huge step forward for the game.

"Sport, I think, could play a huge role in uplifting the world and people's perspective on things.

"Isolation encourages idle minds and I think sport can create that theatre and level of expectation around what it's like to be outside again and be active.

"If it came to it, I think it'd be a huge step forward."

Asked whether such events would be good for morale in the country, he replied: "Yes, I think it would."

An enforced lay-off has been usefully timed in one respect for Morgan, whose wife gave birth to the couple's first child, Leo, three weeks ago.

"We've sort of been preoccupied with looking after the baby," he said. "We've been isolated for a bit longer than everyone else.

"I've been bunkered away for a while and haven't been under pressure to go off and play cricket, which is really nice.

"In between that reading some books, watching some TV shows. Sleep, but in very short periods."

Eoin Morgan is "open to absolutely everything" to help efforts against the coronavirus pandemic but believes England's cricketers are entitled to more guidance amid a public clamour for them to take a temporary pay cut.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a £61million support package on Tuesday to address "the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in its history".

A reduction in salary's for England's centrally contracted players is not yet a part of that effort, although ESPNcricinfo reported ECB chief executive Tom Harrison had written to his counterpart at the Professional Cricketers' Association, Tony Irish, to suggest the country's leading cricket stars should take a lead on this matter.

Harrison himself has volunteered to take a 25 per cent reduction in salary, with the executive management team and board taking a 20 per cent cut for the two months starting April 1. Some staff will also be asked to consent to furloughing under the UK government's coronavirus scheme, before having their salaries topped back up to 100 per cent by the ECB. 

Ben Stokes tweeted to strongly dispute the suggestion he and his team-mates had elected not to take a pay cut, while Morgan told reporters on Wednesday that he had not seen the letter.

"I'm extremely willing to help where I know it's going to make a difference," he said.

"In the extremely uncertain times at the moment, where nobody seems to have any answers of the actual impact it will have on international cricket, English cricket, county cricket, I'm open to absolutely everything.

"I'm very aware how serious the situation is, I'm very aware that everybody will be affected from top to toe within the game and in every sport.

"I'm open to helping where and when I can."

Morgan explained he felt finding the appropriate response was complicated for cricket players because their immediate plans are in such a state of flux.

"The difficult thing we find at the moment when we talk as players is that we can't answer that – we can't answer what is the best way to help out as players," he said.

"Is it to engage on social media? Is it to engage in other streams? Is it just to sit back and let this pass and hopefully we'll play?

"In relation to what we're trying to do and play cricket, get back out on the field, it seems to be quite a while away. The advice that we will be continually getting over the coming weeks is the important stuff."

One of Morgan's World Cup-winning colleagues to have taken a pro-active step in this regard is Jos Buttler.

The Lancashire wicketkeeper has put his shirt from last year's dramatic final triumph over New Zealand at Lord's up for auction on eBay, with the highest bid already in excess of £65,000.

Buttler's shirt is signed by the entire England team and the proceeds will be donated to the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity, to fund life-saving equipment to help those affected by COVID-19.

"It's an incredibly kind gesture," Morgan said. "Certainly, I'm not one for holding on to memorabilia and if I can help out in any way by auctioning off or donating to charity, I do what I can.

"Other people are different. We've seen during the Australian bushfires, where Shane Warne auctioned his baggy green cap for a million dollars or something ridiculous.

"The impact that can have on so many lives, as opposed to sitting in somebody's drawer and just having it as a bit of a trophy – personally that's something I don't understand.

"Jos, I suppose, is one of those guys. I think his shirt will go for a lot of money but the gesture in itself, to help aid and buy new equipment, I think is outstanding."

Eoin Morgan said there was "no limit" to England's batting potential after their second-highest Twenty20 run chase secured a thrilling 2-1 series win over South Africa.

The Proteas capitalised on dream batting conditions to post a mammoth 222-6 in the decider at SuperSport Park on Sunday, Heinrich Klaasen top-scoring with 66 from only 33 balls.

That was not enough to prevent the tourists from winning a run-fest by five wickets with five balls to spare, captain Morgan matching his own record for the fastest T20 half-century by an England batsman.

Morgan bludgeoned 57 not out from only 22 balls - striking seven sixes - after Jos Buttler (57 from 29) and Jonny Bairstow (64 off 34) also flexed their muscles in Centurion.

Skipper Morgan believes England sent out a message to their rivals with the T20 World Cup in Australia on the horizon.

"It creates belief that you can chase down anything and it reinforces what our method is in chasing big totals down," said the England captain, named man of the match and series.

"It's a reference point to what we can do, there’s no limit on restricting yourself to certain things. You want to leave everything out there with the bat.

"It won’t always work but it will give us the best chance of winning.

"Moving forward from this series, our learning will continue to get better, hopefully, because I don't think we’ve played at our best in this series."

Morgan also gave his backing to Buttler, although he did not believe the wicketkeeper-batsman was at his devastating best at the top of the order.

"I'm delighted for Jos," Morgan told Sky Sports. "I think he has as much talent as somebody like AB de Villiers; it took De Villiers a long time, and a lot of games, to get going in a South African shirt.

"We need to back guys that have that sort of talent; Jos has been around a long time now and we know that when he delivers, we win games of cricket. It's great to see him back in the runs.

"I think the priority at the moment is to get the top three facing as many balls as they can - they are the most destructive players that we have.

"If that changes between now and the World Cup, and we feel the need to fill a gap somewhere, then we might change it but, for the moment, it's an extremely destructive batting line-up to play against."

Eoin Morgan matched his own record for the fastest half-century by an England batsman in a Twenty20 international as the tourists clinched a 2-1 series victory over South Africa after a SuperSport Park thriller.

Heinrich Klaasen blasted 66 from only 33 balls after Temba Bavuma (49 off 24) and Quinton de Kock (35 from 24) laid the platform for the Proteas, who posted an intimidating 222-6 at Centurion on Sunday.

England embraced the challenge of pulling off their second-highest successful run chase in the shortest format to turn the series around, Morgan making an astonishing 57 off 22 deliveries as they got home with five balls and five wickets to spare.

Captain Morgan struck seven sixes, equalling the England record of a 21-ball fifty that he set against New Zealand last year, after explosive knocks from Jos Buttler (57 from 29) and Jonny Bairstow (64 off 34).

There were 28 sixes in a contest which proved to be a batsman's paradise at altitude, with England ending a successful tour on a high note after also coming from behind to secure a 3-1 Test triumph and draw the ODI series.

De Kock capitalised on winning the toss by delivering a brutal onslaught along with Bavuma, the openers needing only 22 balls to get 50 on the board.

The captain disdainfully hammered Chris Jordan for three consecutive sixes, with Mark Wood also given the treatment before De Kock struck Ben Stokes (2-35) to Bairstow in the deep.

Bavuma drilled Adil Rashid's first ball over the rope, but the spinner got a measure of revenge when he bowled him one short of a half-century and Stokes struck again to see the back of Rassie van der Dussen.

Klaasen, in for JJ Smuts, then took centre stage, racing to a half-century in 25 balls, with 23 runs coming off an over from a struggling Wood.

David Miller made only nine in a fourth-wicket stand of 66 with Klaasen, whose scintillating knock was ended by Tom Curran (2-33), but his unbeaten 35 got South Africa up to their fifth-best T20 total.

In England's response, a fine catch from Tabraiz Shamsi sent Jason Roy on his way in Lungi Ngidi's second over before Buttler set about the returning Dale Steyn and took only 23 deliveries to reach his half-century.

Bairstow also looked ominous, dispatching Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin into the crowd as the 100 mark came up inside nine overs, but Buttler gave it away when he was caught ramping Dwaine Pretorius.

The clean-striking Bairstow was bowled by Andile Phehlukwayo, having nailed three sixes, and England needed 78 from 38 when Dawid Malan - replacing the unwell Joe Denly - edged behind in a superb over from Shamsi.

Morgan middled Pretorius over the fence twice in the next over to silence the crowd and did the same to Ngidi after ending Steyn's spell with a six.

Stokes launched Phehlukwayo for back-to-back sixes before an incredible stand of 61 off 4.3 overs was ended when he holed out to Ngidi.

An imperious Morgan struck another two sixes in that same penultimate over from Ngidi, and Moeen Ali struck the winning runs after both he and the skipper offered chances to Pretorius.

England captain Eoin Morgan believes the team's one-run defeat to South Africa was a "great game to play in" ahead of the T20 World Cup.

South Africa handed England an agonising loss at Buffalo Park, where the Proteas prevailed in an astonishing finish in the first T20 international on Wednesday.

England – chasing 178 – needed seven runs from seven balls but the tourists fell short as Morgan holed out to long on before a stunning final over from Lungi Ngidi (3-30) saw him remove Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.

Adil Rashid required three from the last delivery for victory but he could only manage one as Dale Steyn and captain Quinton de Kock combined for a runout.

Despite the loss, Morgan was upbeat with the T20 World Cup on the horizon – the 20-over tournament scheduled to get underway in October.

"I definitely think we could've [found an extra run or two], I thought particularly during the chase we were in a very commanding position," Morgan, who scored 52 runs, told Sky Sports.

"We never through a cluster of losing wickets, Jason [Roy] and myself established a partnership quite well with the new guys coming in and with the short boundary one side, we never really looked flustered - probably until Ngidi came on in the 18th and probably the last over that he bowled turned the came on its head.

"Even in a position needing seven off the last over with new guys coming in, we'd have expected to win that game.

"It's a great game to play in because you get a feeling of where guys are at, they're put under pressure, you get to see what skill-level they produce, how their temperament is. So in terms of actually improving in that position, I think it is great for us."

Ngidi dazzled in the first of three T20's in East London and the South Africa paceman does not plan on relinquishing his spot in the team.

"We know that there are a lot of fast bowlers fighting for a spot so you've got to be on your A game," he said afterwards, with the Proteas able to call upon Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada and Sisanda Magala.

"If you're not quite there, someone else is going to come in and do the job you're supposed to be doing. I don't plan on letting anyone take my spot so I am just going to keep playing as best as I can."

Eoin Morgan acknowledged England were "way off the mark" after Quinton de Kock inspired South Africa to victory in the opening ODI at Newlands.

In England's first ODI since winning the World Cup, the tourists lost by seven wickets as new Proteas 50-over captain De Kock scored an imperious 107 to lead South Africa to victory.

England, without Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, had looked set to amass a big score with openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow ticking over neatly, only for the tourists to suffer a batting collapse similar to those which have plagued the Test side over the last year.

Joe Denly (87) and Chris Woakes stood firm to help England to 258-8, but De Kock and his South Africa side ultimately had too much - with Temba Bavuma (98) also weighing in with a hefty score.

"We were way off the mark and we were hurt," Morgan said at the post-match presentation.

"South Africa completely outplayed us today in all departments. We've got no excuses. We didn't adapt to the conditions today that were set in front of us, [because] we knew it wasn't going to be an absolute run-fest.

"But apart from Joe Denly and Chris Woakes we really struggled to get going, which probably emphasises that we are a little bit rusty.

"South Africa bowled well and accurately, they used the conditions really well with slower balls, and then we couldn't penetrate the partnership between de Kock and Bavuma, so it made things very difficult for us. But full credit to them, they've started the series very well.

"I think we lacked adaptation to the skill level that was needed. The guys up front came hard like they normally do, as we always try and do, but when that didn't come off we had to try and rein in in a little bit.

"I think we lost wickets in clusters, and when myself and Joe [Root] went at the same time, we continue to lose wickets until the Woakes and Denly partnership. But I suppose that total would only get us in the game if we bowled well and managed to take early wickets. but having let those guys get themselves in, it was a struggle to drag things back."

However, Morgan believes England, who gave ODI debuts to Tom Banton and Matt Parkinson, along with recalling Chris Jordan to the 50-over team for the first time in over three years, will have learned plenty from the chastening defeat.

"I think they learned a huge amount," said Morgan. "Failure is a huge platform to try and catapult yourself forward and learn from your mistakes. As soon as you can, [you have to] implement them into this series.

"I think the two guys making their debuts, Banton and Parkinson, have come in today and seen what international cricket is like. They've had a little glimpse of T20 international cricket but it's not all crash, bang, wallop, like we've seen today.

"So they learn a lot from tonight and hopefully take that into the rest of the series."

Eoin Morgan says Alex Hales could still make an England comeback, but it will take time to repair a "breakdown in trust" with the team.

Hales was dropped last year, a month before England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign on home soil, after he was reportedly handed a 21-day ban for what was described as an "off-field incident".

The batsman has not played for his country since but has been in sparkling form with the bat for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League in Australia.

Morgan stated that Hales' international career may not be over just yet, with the T20 World Cup coming up in Australia this year, but the England captain indicated that it may be a while before the 31-year-old is considered.

Asked if Hales could make an international return, he told Sky Sports: "Yes, absolutely.

"Alex is in fantastic form for Sydney Thunder at the moment but his form has never been a question about him coming back into the squad

"What happened prior to the World Cup last summer was a complete breakdown in trust between Alex and the team.

"The way back in for Alex is to try and rebuild that trust and that takes a considerable amount of time. We are in that time at the moment."

Meanwhile, Tom Banton, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson could make their ODI debuts in the first game of the three-match series against South Africa on Tuesday.

With Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes rested, Morgan says those who are given a chance against the Proteas must grasp it with both hands. 

"I think we use ODIs as a great opportunity to build strength in depth throughout our squad," said Morgan.

"This series, as a starting point, will see guys come in and make their debuts and give people opportunities to stake a claim for positions that have been cemented for some time now.

"One of our strengths going into the last World Cup was competition for places and guys in those positions becoming not just very good England players but world-class international players."

Kolkata Knight Riders splashed out a record INR 15.5 crore for Australia star Pat Cummins in the IPL auction on Thursday.

Cummins had been the subject of bids from both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals before Knight Riders gazumped their rivals.

The deal, worth roughly $2.2million, makes Cummins the most expensive overseas buy in IPL history.

The top-ranked Test bowler previously played in Kolkata in 2014 and 2015, along with Delhi Capitals in 2017. He missed the 2018 tournament with Mumbai Indians through injury.

Cummins has 17 wickets, at a rate of 29.35, in his 16 career IPL matches to date.

He is joined at Knight Riders by England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, whose reward for 2019 Cricket World Cup success is a much-improved deal.

Morgan, who is set to lead England again at the 2020 T20 World Cup, fetched INR 5.25 crore - more than double his wage for Kings XI Punjab in his most recent appearance in 2017.

Meanwhile, Cummins was not the only quick to welcome a big contract on Thursday, as debutant Sheldon Cottrell went to Kings XI for INR 8.5 crore.

And Indians signed Nathan Coulter-Nile for INR 8 crore.

Rajasthan Royals brought Jaydev Unadkat back for a third straight year, this time for a more modest INR 3 crore having spent top fees on the 28-year-old at the past two tournaments.

Glenn Maxwell went to Kings XI for INR 10.75 crore, while Royal Challengers sent INR 10 crore to Chris Morris.

Jonny Bairstow said England "don't want to keep this happening" after his team-mates needed a Super Over to beat New Zealand in the fifth and final Twenty20.

England defeated the Black Caps to win the Cricket World Cup on home soil in July via a Super Over after the scores were level at the end of 100 gripping overs – the hosts prevailing on a boundary count-back.

A boundary count-back was not required in Auckland on Sunday, however, after England claimed a 3-2 series win over the Black Caps.

England scored 17 from their additional six balls after reaching 146-7 from 11 overs to tie the match in the rain-affected T20 decider, with New Zealand restricted to eight runs in reply.

"We don't want to keep this happening, I don't think," Man of the match Bairstow told Sky Sport afterwards.

"I don't think anyone wants to keep that going but it just shows how close the sides are and how close it's been throughout the series and it sets up what's going to be a fantastic Test series as well."

After New Zealand posted 146-5, England opener Bairstow scored 47 runs from just 18 deliveries to rescue the tourists from 9-2 before Chris Jordan hit a last-ball boundary to force a Super Over.

"I don't feel like I've potentially scored as many as I wanted during the series so to contribute in a shortened game, obviously the pitch here is quite favourable for the batters, so to get some runs was pleasing," said Bairstow, who posted eight runs in the Super Over.

"It was pretty imposing to try and chase down 150 but a lot of the guys played in the T10 last year and said, 'look, we're not far off here if we can get within striking distance with the small boundaries, we've got a chance'."

England captain Eoin Morgan added: "Surprised we got any sort of a game in today with the weather that was around but it's always nice to play here.

"We chopped and changed a little bit and the guys coming in did a really good job. The Black Caps played well again, bowled really well and there was nothing between the sides for the 11-over game.

"And then, the Super Over, I thought the standout was Chris Jordan, a guy who's extremely calm under pressure and delivers."

History repeated as England prevailed over New Zealand after a Super Over to claim a 3-2 series victory in a rain-affected fifth Twenty20 in Auckland.

There was no boundary count-back required to separate the teams, as had been the case in July's Cricket World Cup final at Lord's, thanks to Chris Jordan's nerveless all-round performance and moments of brilliance from Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan.

Jordan entered with three balls left of the second innings and crashed 12 runs off Jimmy Neesham to lift England to 146-7, level with the lofty total the Black Caps achieved in their 11 overs.

The experienced seamer then restricted New Zealand to eight runs from their six balls as the home side fell well short of the 17 compiled by Morgan and opener Bairstow, who earlier laid the platform for Jordan's heroics on Sunday.

Bairstow hit two fours and five sixes in an 18-ball 47 to get England out of trouble – the tourists having been reduced to 9-2 at the start of the second over.

Captain Morgan chipped in with a quick-fire 17 and Sam Curran justified his promotion up the order with a crucial knock of 24 off 11 balls.

Jordan just about completed the job with the bat, levelling the scores with a four off the final delivery, after finishing with figures of 0-28 from his two overs in the first innings.

Colin Munro (46), Martin Guptill (50) and Tim Seifert (39) looked to have posted a winning score for the Black Caps following a delayed start to proceedings but the latter pair failed to fire in the Super Over.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Seifert produced a lone boundary from four balls faced before Morgan took a sensational catch running backwards to take the air out of the home crowd.

Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme managed only another single between them as World Cup winners England celebrated their come-from-behind series victory.

Dawid Malan credited Eoin Morgan with providing him the momentum to break records in England's Twenty20 victory over New Zealand on Friday.

Malan scored England's fastest T20 century by smashing an unbeaten 103 from 51 balls, while captain Morgan raced to 91 off just 41 deliveries in Napier.

The duo shared 182 runs as the tourists reached an imposing 241-3 – England's highest partnership and innings total in the format.

The Black Caps were skittled for 165 in response, Matt Parkinson claiming figures of 4-47, as Morgan's men clinched a 76-run triumph that levelled the series at 2-2 ahead of the final game in Auckland on Sunday.

"The message is always the same, play aggressively and back yourself," said Malan, who hit nine fours and six maximums.

"It's not very often you have days like that when every time you have a hack at one it lands safe or goes for six. It's as good as it gets.

"I felt like I had rhythm today, glad I clicked especially with these short boundaries.

"It helps batting with Morgs as well, he changed the momentum of the game and I piggybacked him a bit. To do it on the biggest stage is a fantastic experience."

Morgan added: "It was quite a clinical performance. Myself and Dawid have played for a long time together at Middlesex and we know each other pretty well.

"It was enjoyable, we had a lot of laughs out there. It was a beautiful wicket to bat on."

Dawid Malan broke an England record with a stunning century against New Zealand in the fourth Twenty20 international in Napier on Friday.

The left-hander reached his century off just 48 balls, the fastest ton by an England batsman in T20 internationals.

Malan became just the second Englishman to make a century in the format, but was far quicker than Alex Hales' 60-ball effort against Sri Lanka in 2014.

He finished with nine fours and six sixes, making an unbeaten 103 as the tourists – who trail in the series 2-1 – reached 241-3.

The total was England's highest in the T20 format, surpassing the 230 they made against South Africa in 2016.

Eoin Morgan made a stellar 41-ball 91 as England posted the equal 13th highest total ever in T20 internationals.

The 182-run partnership between Malan and Morgan was also England's highest in T20s.

Eoin Morgan put England's collapse in the 14-run defeat to New Zealand down to a lack of experience as they fell behind in the five-match Twenty20 international series.

The tourists were coasting towards their 181-run target at Saxton Oval on 139-2 in the 15th over on Monday.

However, captain Morgan holed out to Mitchell Santner to spark a loss of five wickets for just 10 runs as New Zealand moved 2-1 ahead in Nelson.

"I think that's one that got away from us," Morgan said in the post-match presentation. 

"I thought we were in control the whole chase, probably until we went three or four down - then the lack of experience in the chase possibly cost us.

"But the guys that have come in need to play more games and get in more situations like that, in order for us to find more out about them.

"I think it's great the series has been so competitive so far, we're integrating everybody into the squad, but certainly we feel that's one that slipped away.

"The game plan remains the same. Everything about what we do is positive, smart, aggressive cricket - in the field, with the bat, with the ball - and we want young guys to come in and adapt to that.

"There are a lot of positives to take from today but, certainly moving to Napier and a must-win game to level the series, we'll need to up our game."

Opposite number Tim Southee acknowledged the Morgan wicket swung the match towards New Zealand, but he was confident his side were always in the contest and praised Colin de Grandhomme's ultimately crucial knock of 55 off 35 in the team's 180-7.

"It showed that if we could keep taking wickets, it would get tougher and tougher for the news guys coming in," Southee said. 

"I think with Morgan going they were nicely placed but we kept chipping away. It was great to see Colin come out and get a score. It's nice to win game like that, could have gone either way at the halfway mark."

England lost five wickets in the space of four overs in collapsing to a 14-run defeat to New Zealand in the third Twenty20 in Nelson on Tuesday.

Dawid Malan's half-century and a measured 49 from James Vince had the tourists cruising towards their target of 181 before captain Eoin Morgan slogged a Mitchell Santner (1-41) delivery to Colin Munro in the 15th over.

Munro then ran out Sam Billings (1), Vince scooped Beau Tickner to mid-off and Lockie Ferguson removed Sam Curran (2) and Lewis Gregory (0) in quick succession as England crumbled from a position of strength at 139-2.

Colin de Grandhomme earlier rattled off 55 from 35 balls to help give the Black Caps a 2-1 series lead going into the penultimate match of the series on Friday.

New Zealand elected to bat first and made a blistering start thanks to Martin Guptill, who continued the form that saw him make 41 in Wellington.

The experienced opener clubbed seven fours in a quick-fire 33 before falling to a fine Tom Curran catch off the bowling of Pat Brown (1-34).

Momentum stalled as Munro and Tim Seifert (7) departed cheaply but a 66-run stand between all-rounder De Grandhomme and veteran Ross Taylor (27), along with contributions from Jimmy Neesham (20) and Santner (15), bumped the total up to a defendable 180-7.

England looked set to make light work of the chase after losing only Tom Banton inside the opening 10 overs, the debutant completely missing a Tickner off-cutter on 18.

Malan threw away his wicket with the score on 90 by heaving Ish Sodhi's (1-30) full toss to Guptill in the deep but Vince and Morgan combined to add another 49 runs in less than five overs.

Vince further reduced the required run rate with four boundaries in as many balls faced, only for Morgan's exit on 18 to spark the collapse.

England lost 10-5 in all, with Tom Curran (14 not out) playing a lone hand amid the fall of wickets.

Ferguson (25-2) and Tickner (25-2) were the pick of the bowlers for the Black Caps, who now have the chance to complete a series victory when the teams meet in Napier.

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