England's preparations for the T20 series against New Zealand suffered a slight setback on Wednesday when they lost a warm up match against a New Zealand XI by three wickets in Whangarei.

England had scored 170 for five in their 20 overs, and nearly secured the win, but the new Zealanders managed to hold their nerve and got the one run needed off the final ball to secure the victory.

The Kiwis won the toss and chose to field, taking regular wickets but unable to prevent both Eoin Morgan and rising star Jos Buttler from scoring half centuries, both making 51. Michael Lumb was the other big scorer, adding 45 as opener.

Andrew Ellis was the pick of the hosts' bowlers, taking the wickets of Luke Wright and Jonny Bairstow, and being the only bowler to go at less than seven to the over.

New Zealand's chase got off to a solid start as Hamish Rutherford, son of legend Ken, and Anton Devcich put on 58 for the first wicket. Rutherford made 30 before departing, while Devcich added 33 to the score.

Tom Latham was the game's top scorer, making 64 off 38 balls, and it all seemed to be going swimmingly for the home side while he was in the middle. But a late flurry of wickets nearly derailed proceedings as Stuart Broad took three scalps.

But the Kiwis were able to push through, thanks in part to Jade Dernbach's ever-expensive death bowling, And Matt Henry was able to get a single off the last ball to secure the victory.

The first proper T20 between the nations is on 9 February in Auckland.