Kiwis skipper Kane Williamson put the disputation around his worth as a T20 player to bed with a brilliant knock of 72 runs off 46 balls to help New Zealand to their first victory in the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series by 12 runs over England at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.
Should New Zealand lose on Friday, England could, of course, still qualify on run rate with a win on Sunday, but it just looks so unlikely at the moment.
Williamson should have been run out without scoring as he dashed for a risky single but paceman Mark Wood missed the stumps from close quarters.
Williamson's first job was to back up Guptill, who launched Adil Rashid for three slog-swept sixes en route to 65 from 40 balls.
"Obviously it was a very important win for us in the context of this series", Williamson said.
New Zealand's Mark Chapman, who made his debut for New Zealand with today's match, represented Hong Kong before.
A good thing Chapman chipped in too as the premier late innings hitter, Colin de Grandhomme, had gone first ball - spectacularly caught one handed above his head on the long off fence, by Chris Jordan.
Jordan also removed Williamson in an 18th over in which he conceded only three runs.
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Two slumping sides meet in tonight's tri-series Twenty20 match in Wellington.
New Zealand strike early and England's Jason Roy departs, dismissed by Tim Southee.
Hales smashed pace bowler Trent Boult for 20 off his second over and eventually hit hit three sixes and six fours, including a huge hit over the boundary from a pull shot off the left-hander.
But Hales departed rashly hitting legspinner Ish Sodhi straight to deep mid wicket.
They effectively have two chances to book their spot in Auckland later this month, with one win from their next two games enough to edge England out.
Williamson posted his eighth T20 half century but his first in 10 innings since January a year ago to guide New Zealand to 196-5 as they batted first after winning the toss.
England captain Jos Buttler: "Maybe we gave away 10 or 15 too many". It played a lot better than it looked and we got off to a good start. We did not bowl as well as we could have. Dawid Malan impressed as well and we needed them to extend it further. We probably didn't get those cameos lower down, myself coming in and failing and that made a difference.
Buttler added: "We need a favour from Australia to beat New Zealand".