England T20 captain Eoin Morgan was full of praise for his side despite their five-run defeat to New Zealand in a thrilling game at The Oval on Tuesday night.
Having been asked to bat first, the tourists clubbed a mammoth 201-4 from their 20 overs and then held their nerve as England came close to completing a record-breaking run chase only to fall short on 196-5.
With England shorn of their Test players, Morgan was pleased with how his young side fared, saying: "The guys showed some great character throughout, it was a good batting wicket with a short boundary on one side and we felt it was a chaseable total.
"The guys showed some good form and we got off to flier at the start, but just couldn't continue until the end, which was a bit of a shame.
"We were only two blows away from winning the game, it was very tight. The margin was very small."
The loss came just two days after England suffered a similar close defeat to India in the Champions Trophy final, but Morgan added: "It's not as frustrating as the other day, that was a huge opportunity missed whereas tonight was a great performance with plenty of positives to take from it, and moving forward with the young guys that we have it's a great prospect."
England could be boosted by the return of Kevin Pietersen for the second clash against the Black Caps on Thursday.
"We'd obviously love to have him back. We'll discuss where he fits into the side."
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who top-scored in the match with 68 off 48 balls, is looking forward to facing Pietersen.
"He's obviously a world-class player and if he comes back into the mix on Thursday then we'll have to do a little more studying tomorrow to try and come up with something (to combat him).
"But the game's better when Kevin's back involved so it'll be great from our point of view too if he does play."
"I thought some young guys stood up exceptionally well. And that's great from our point of view to see those guys under pressure and perform as well as they did.
"It was small margins but it's still great when you come out on top."