Black Caps claim first T20 international
New Zealand has completely defeated Australia in the opening match of the nation's five match T20I series, winning by 53 runs at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Monday.
Devon Conway's unbeaten 99 spearheaded the home team's score of 5-184 before four wickets from leg spinner Ish Sodhi helped bowl out the visitors for 131, Mitch Marsh top scoring with 45.
Australia won the toss to bowl in front of a sell out crowd on what was an emotional day for the country of New Zealand, ten years to the day since the Christchurch earthquakes that claimed 185 lives in 2011.
Aaron Finch's side made the perfect start, Martin Guptill skewing the third ball of the match from Daniel Sams to Glenn Maxwell at backward point to depart for a duck.
Fresh from his big IPL payday Jhye Richardson also struck in his opening over, skittling Tim Seifert's stumps with a searing yorker to leave the home side 2-11.
Skipper Kane Williamson bottom edged Sams behind to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to depart for 12 as the Black Caps slumped to 3-19, but Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway recovered the innings with a 74 run stand for the fourth wicket, Conway finding the boundary with regularity while Phillips would clear the boundary three times on his way to 30.
Phillips eventually departed to Marcus Stoinis but the runs kept flowing courtesy of Jimmy Neesham (26 from 15) and Conway, who produced a stunning knock that fell just short of a maiden T20I century in just his seventh match for his country.
Conway's innings featured ten fours and three sixes, taking the score past 180 and set Australia a challenging chase.
Richardson (2-31 from 4 overs) and Sams (2-40 from 4) were the most successful bowlers for the Aussies, New Zealand scoring 146 runs from the last 13 overs after a slow start.
Australia's innings got off to a similarly poor start with Aaron Finch out for one, hitting Tim Southee straight to point to continue his poor run of form that saw the powerful right hander average just 13 in the recent Big Bash season.
Debutant Josh Philippe could only make 2 in his first international innings before skying a catch to man of the moment Conway off Trent Boult, Australia 2-8 from 2 overs.
Matthew Wade (12) and Glenn Maxwell (1) joined the procession, new ball pair Southee and Boult getting the ball to swing to cause the Australian top order trouble.
At 4-19 the visitors task was becoming steeper by the over, Mitchell Marsh producing a powerful knock of 45 but lacking any support as the leg spin of Ish Sodhi ran through the middle to lower order, Australia all out for 131 in 17.3 overs.
Sodhi snared 4-28 from his four overs with Southee (2-10) and Boult (2-22) best utilising the conditions under lights as the Black Caps took a 1-0 lead in the best of five match series that serves as preparation for the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
The teams meet again in Dunedin on Thursday for the second match of the series.
IMAGE: Cricket World.