England's hopes of making the T20 Tri-Series final are hanging by a thread after a 12-run defeat to New Zealand in Wellington.
New Zealand's victory, in which skipper Kane Williamson struck 72 from 46 balls, means the Black Caps will play Australia in the final on February 21 if they defeat David Warner's men in Friday's group game.
England now need the Kiwis to lose to Australia and then beat them in their second meeting, in Hamilton on Sunday, to make the showpiece match in Auckland following a third loss on the spin in the tournament.
Dawid Malan hit 59 from 40 deliveries - his third fifty in four T20I innings - as England chased New Zealand's 196-5 but the tourists ended on 184-9, spinner Mitchell Santner (2-29) the pick of the Black Caps bowlers.
Williamson and Martin Guptill (65 off 40) put on 82 for the second wicket as the hosts racked up the joint-highest T20I score at the Westpac Stadium, both batsmen sealing their half-centuries with sixes.
Williamson could have been run out without scoring but Mark Wood missed the stumps from close to the non-striker's end and the home captain went on to top score before being bowled by Chris Jordan.
Jordan produced a moment for England to remember when he caught Colin de Grandhomme one-handed near the long-off boundary in stunning style to send the batsman back to the pavilion for a golden duck.
Jason Roy (8) fell cheaply in England's reply but Alex Hales (47 off 24) motored before falling three runs shy of an eighth T20I fifty, the opener pulling a half-tracker from Ish Sodhi (2-49) to deep midwicket.
Sodi also had Jos Buttler (2) - who was once again captaining England with Eoin Morgan still nursing a groin strain - caught on the boundary but missed out on the wicket of David Willey (21 off 10), when Santner parried the ball over the ropes.
Santner quickly atoned, though, as Malan slashed him to Trent Boult down the ground, before Boult (2-46) castled Jordan and the fit-again Liam Plunkett from successive balls in the 18th over to end England's faint hopes.
New Zealand's innings, in which Wood (2-51) went at 12.75 an over and Adil Rashid also scooped two wickets, featured useful contributions from debutants Mark Chapman (20 off 13) and Tim Seifert (14no off 6).
Chapman became the sixth player to play international Twenty20 cricket for two countries, having previously featured 19 times in the format for Hong Kong.
WHAT THEY SAID
New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson: "It was obviously very important in the context of this series. In some ways it was a must-win, just to get ahead of the third-placed team at the moment, which is a very strong England side.
"They made it really hard, we had to play really strong cricket and fortunately we did that today. The guys got off to a really strong start for us and we were able to build partnerships throughout."
England stand-in captain, Jos Buttler: "We let them get maybe 10 or 15 too many, that proved to be the difference in the end. We were just off with our skills.
"We probably needed Hales and Malan to extend it a bit longer and then we didn't get those cameos we needed in the middle, myself or somebody else playing a bit of a cameo role to go with those two. We need a favour from Australia to beat New Zealand - we will see what happens."
Stick with Sky Sports Cricket for Friday's game between New Zealand and Australia in Auckland (5.30am on air) and then New Zealand versus England in Hamilton on Sunday (5.30am on air). The Tri-Series final is also live on Sky Sports Cricket on Wednesday, February 21 (5.30am on air).