New Zealanders 261 for 9 dec (Rutherford 75) and 275 for 9 dec (Guptill 150, Choudhry 5-78) beat Worcestershire 291 for 7 dec (Whiteley 103*) and 230 (Kohler-Cadmore 55, Craig 4-56) by 15 runs

Dobell: 'Guptill, Henry likely to make New Zealand XI'
Dobell: 'Guptill, Henry likely to make New Zealand XI'

It may not pass into sporting folklore in quite the manner of Devon Loch, Greg Norman or almost every limited-overs side South African have selected in the last 20 years, but Worcestershire produced a choke of museum quality to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against New Zealand at New Road. At this very moment, the Duchess of Kent may be consoling Shaaiq Choudhry as he weeps on her shoulder.

Perhaps that assessment is harsh. Not on Worcestershire - who certainly lacked composure - but on New Zealand who, at the key moment, performed with the skill and intensity of a confident, united side that backs itself to prevail under pressure. This was not, by any means, a wholly convincing performance from the tourists, but by turning a confidence-sapping defeat into a memorable victory, they depart for Lord's with spirits high.

The key facts are these: with seven wickets in hand and requiring just 55 more runs from the final 16 overs of the match to complete their first win against a touring side this century, Worcestershire lost their last six wickets for 22 runs. Having eased to 119 for 1 in pursuit of 246, they were bowled out for 230. As Steve Rhodes, their director of cricket, said afterwards: "It was the one that got away from us. We collapsed to lose the game. You have to give them credit, but we should have seen it home, for sure."

While New Zealand bowled - and caught, in particular - very well, most of the Worcestershire batsmen will reflect that they played a large part in their own downfall. Requiring less than four an over, they lost their heads and their wickets with a series of attempted slogs that spoke of a naivety within the dressing room. Perhaps, in such a young side, such failings are inevitable on the road of progress.

There are various caveats to this result. As is the increasing custom of many warm-up games played by touring sides, this was not a first-class match - New Zealand utilised 14 players; Worcestershire 15 - and there was, at times, a lack of intensity to proceedings. Moeen Ali missed the final day having joined up with the England squad, too.

And, in truth, such games are not about results. They are about preparation. So even if New Zealand had lost, they could take comfort from the performance of Martin Guptill - who forced his way into the side for the first Test at Lord's - and even when they won, they would have been a little concerned about the form of some of their batsmen - notably Ross Taylor, who remains a little out of sorts.

They will be boosted greatly by the arrival, by Monday lunchtime, of all four of the players currently absent on IPL duty. While it is not ideal for Brendon McCullum, Trent Boult, Kane Williamson and Tim Southee to go into a Test without any meaningful red-ball cricket for five months, it is also a regular symptom of the modern game and should not unsettle the rest of the squad.

"It's been that way for the last eight years," Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach told ESPNcricinfo after the match. "We don't pay high enough wages to dictate to the players what they do and we have actually encouraged them to go to the IPL."

Hesson all but confirmed that Guptill - who scored 150 in a New Zealand innings in which the second highest score was 30 - would play at Lord's but was less revealing about the identity of the third seamer in the Test side. While the plan remains for Mark Craig to provide the spin and Corey Anderson, who rested on the last day here, to play as the seam-bowling allrounder, it remains unclear whether Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry or Neil Wagner will take the final position.

Bracewell was probably - and by only a marginal distance - the least impressive of the three, while Worcestershire's batsmen rated Henry both the quickest and the pick of the trio. He also offers a bit of extra batting in the lower-order.

"Guptill played superbly," Hesson said. "It was a decisive performance. He has done exactly what we wanted. Henry is really good talent and Wagner has never let us down, so we have a difficult decision to make there."

To some extent, though, New Zealand's frailty with the bat was masked by Guptill's century. Had he been caught by Ben Cox, a top-edged cut off Choudhry, they may well have lost. Taylor drove to mid-on, BJ Watling glanced to leg slip and Luke Ronchi edged a sweep as New Zealand's batsmen tried to accelerate in conditions were accumulation was more appropriate. But they did declare in both innings and they were keen to test themselves under pressure, so it might prove unwise to read too much into the relatively low scores.

Worcestershire will take some pleasure from the performance, too. Nine years into a first-class career that has encompassed only 22 games, Choudhry claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in first-team senior cricket, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Ed Barnard - whose bowling caught the eye of Hesson - both provided evidence of talent that should serve the club well for a decade or more.

While Choudhry, a left-arm spinner whose opportunities are generally limited to a spoiling role in limited-overs cricket, didn't exactly rip out batsmen, he showed the benefit of a winter working with Norman Gifford on bowling a little quicker and maintained his composure when attacked.

This was a missed opportunity, though. The last time Worcestershire beat a touring side - Australia in a limited-overs game in 1997 - Steve Waugh had just claimed that their current chief executive, David Leatherdale, was such a modest talent that he "wouldn't get a bowl in a Chinese restaurant". Leatherdale responded with figures of 5 for 10 and an anecdote that he will continue to enjoy for years to come. A young, developing side could have taken heart from such a victory.

New Zealand, meanwhile, might not have enjoyed perfect preparation. But they look stronger and more resilient than the last time they were here and represent dangerous opposition to an England side embarking on yet another period of change and transition.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo