England set New Zealand a challenging 173 for victory in their World Twenty20 opener at Chittagong.

Their score of 172 for six was higher than either Sri Lanka or South Africa managed in the day's first match at the same stadium and left the Black Caps facing a tough chase.

Moeen Ali struck 36 in 23 balls to lead the way from number three, while Michael Lumb (33) and Jos Buttler (32) also weighed in with important runs before 42 runs were added in the final four overs.

Corey Anderson was key for New Zealand, taking two wickets and two important catches.

England opener Alex Hales, who was ranked as the number one T20 batsman in the world a matter of months ago, came into the match on the back of some shaky recent form.

And he lasted just two balls here, a leading edge off Kyle Mills seemingly sailing just over Anderson, only for the all-rounder to claim a fine one-handed catch tumbling backwards.

It was a poor start but Moeen grabbed the initiative in Mills' second over, hitting two boundaries in the 'V' either side of meaty onside six.

He greeted Tim Southee's arrival with back-to-back boundaries and Lumb got in on the fun when he powered a huge six over mid-wicket as the over went for 17.

The end of the six-over powerplay saw England 66 for one and Lumb ensured the pace did not slow, scoring 10 out of 11 runs in an exploratory over of spin from Nathan McCullum.

But England stuttered when both set batsmen fell in the space of six deliveries.

Anderson was involved in both dismissals, first persuading Moeen to pull straight to the waiting Mitch McClenaghan and then taking a smart sliding catch when Lumb slashed uppishly to third man.

That left England 76 for three, bringing Eoin Morgan and Buttler together.

They put on 27 before Morgan succumbed tamely to Southee, who conceded a miserly two from the over.

Buttler, having taken stock of conditions, pulled out his party tricks in the 15th - ramping Southee for three and then flicking over the keeper's head for four.

A more coventional boundary through point followed before that man Anderson again caused problems, bowling Buttler via the inside edge with a fuller ball.

Ravi Bopara should have followed for seven when Luke Ronchi dropped a simple catch at the wicket and the unlucky Southee paid the price, with the reprieved batsman launching the next ball for a straight six.

Chris Jordan also cleared the ropes before holing out, but Bopara finished 24 not out with Tim Bresnan unbeaten on 17 as the last two overs cost 23.