Jos Buttler made an unbeaten 47 off just 16 balls to propel England to a total of 287 for six against New Zealand in the third and final one-day international at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
England, bidding to avoid a whitewash having already lost the series at 2-0 down, saw Ian Bell top score with 82 before he gave his wicket away.
At 210 for five in the 46th over, it seemed England would fall short of a competitive total.
But a stand of 62 between Eoin Morgan (49) and Buttler gave England's bowlers a score to defend under the floodlights in this day/night fixture.
Buttler needed a six off the last ball to surpass Sri Lanka great Sanath Jayasuriya's 17-ball record for the fastest ODI fifty, set against Pakistan in Singapore in 1996.
But instead he could only manage two off Tim Southee.
Nevertheless 22-year-old Somerset wicket-keeper Buttler's innings featured six fours and three sixes.
Left-hander Morgan was no slouch either, his runs coming off 48 balls with three sixes and two fours.
England, sent into bat, soon lost captain Alastair Cook when he was lbw for nought to left-arm seamer Mitchell McClenaghan.
Fellow opener Bell was in command when he tamely mistimed a drive off McClenaghan low to mid-off.
Bell squatted down at the crease in disbelief before eventually walking off after a 96-ball innings featuring a six and six fours
Ravi Bopara, one of four changes to the side beaten by 86 runs at Southampton on Sunday, made a scratchy 28, at less than a run-a-ball, before he holed out off part-time spinner Kane Williamson to leave England 210 for five.
Buttler, off only his third ball, struck Kyle Mills high over long-on.
Next ball Buttler produced a trademark scoop shot for four over short fine leg and the ball after that deposited Mills between the two fielders at mid-wicket and square leg.
There was more to come, with the fourth ball of the over reverse-scooped over short third man for yet another Buttler boundary.
Buttler missed the fifth ball but the sixth was smashed back over Mills's head as 22 runs came off the 48th over, the most expensive of the innings.
McClenaghan, whose first eight overs yielded a return of three for 23, saw 31 taken off his final two.
England scored 74 runs off their last four overs in what was both sides' final match before the start of the one-day Champions Trophy tournament in the UK.