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England crash to warm-up defeat

England lost to New Zealand XI off the final ball of their second Twenty20 warm-up, despite Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan's twin half-centuries.

A late fightback with the ball, led by captain Stuart Broad (three for 24), also proved in vain as - with scores level on 170 - number nine Matt Henry hit Jade Dernbach past mid-off to settle the issue by three wickets.

Buttler (51) and Morgan (51 not out) shared an unbroken 77 in Tuesday's 46-run win over the same opponents at the Cobham Oval - and this time they put on 87 together.

But their best efforts were not enough as Tom Latham (64) underpinned a run chase which was eventually completed in the nick of time, despite the twist in the tale.

Three wickets fell for four runs - including that of Latham, caught in the leg-side deep off Broad - yet there was still too much leeway for the tourists to claw back.

Buttler's second successive half-century - yesterday's was his first for his country - came in 30 balls and contained five fours and two sixes.

He fell to a catch at long-on when he tried to club the penultimate delivery of England's innings for another six off Neil Wagner.

But that gave Morgan the chance to complete his 50 from the last ball, by hitting Wagner for a six over midwicket to add to his six fours from just 28 deliveries.

Just as 24 hours earlier, England's batsmen did not make the most promising of starts after being put in.

Alex Hales had mustered only four when he was short of his ground and run out by a direct hit as he tried to scamper a single to square-leg for Michael Lumb.

There was a let-off for number three Luke Wright, who would also have gone run out for nought had left-armer Wagner managed to hit the stumps after cutting off another single into the off-side in his follow-through.

It needed a big over to give England some momentum in powerplay and two leg-side sixes from Lumb and one from Wright off Test seamer Doug Bracewell was just what was required.

The acceleration was interrupted, though, by home captain Andrew Ellis - whose first two overs cost six runs and contained two wickets.

Wright tried to beat the infield with an upper-cut. But there was not enough pace on the ball and he was easily caught at short third-man.

Then Jonny Bairstow, promoted to number four, could not cash in on being dropped caught and bowled on one by spinner Nick Beard before he was pinned lbw on the back foot by Ellis.

Lumb was within five of his 50 when he cut Wagner hard to point and was caught by a juggling Neil Broom.

But that brought together Buttler and Morgan and, with eight overs left, they had plenty of time to reprise yesterday's partnership.

The home openers then began ominously and, after the fifth over from Steven Finn cost 20 runs - including his second over-stepping no ball and resulting free hit as well as a clever hook for six by Anton Devcich - the first-wicket stand passed 50 in only 35 deliveries.

Samit Patel had Hamish Rutherford caught at long-on and got through his four overs for only 20 runs.

Devcich then swept James Tredwell straight to deep square-leg, but number three Latham soon began to carry the game for the hosts - and by the time he hit England's off-spinner over midwicket for six to reach his 50 from 29 balls, the New Zealand XI were obvious favourites.

Tredwell ended up being more than twice as expensive than his spin partner - and although Broad had Neil Broom caught at short fine-leg, too many of his team-mates were still leaking too many runs.

The captain tried all he could, including a one-handed catch to see off danger man Colin Munro for only four.

But Finn recorded identically unimpressive figures to Tredwell and even the late drama could not prevent England heading for the start of the Twenty20 series against New Zealand on the back of a defeat.