Devon Conway led from the front with a superb innings to guide New Zealand to a comprehensive 89-run win over Australia in the T20 World Cup Super 12 opener on Saturday, earning a measure of revenge for last year's final.
Conway's knock came from just 58 balls with seven fours and two sixes, joining a select group to make 90 or more at a World Cup. He was joined in a fine opening partnership by Finn Allen, who struck a blistering 42 off just 16 balls to share a 56-run stand with Conway.
Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee both took three wickets each as the Black Caps claimed their first win against Australia in Australia in any format since 2011 while submitting the tournament hosts to a nightmare start to their title defence.
"A special performance from the boys," said man of the match Conway, who also took two catches with the gloves. "Credit has to go to Finn, he gave the momentum for us. It's pretty special and I've seen him do time and time again. He's a young guy and he's fearless.
"The way Finn plays complements my game and it was a good surface to bat on. I felt timing the ball would give me the best chance for success. Victory over Australia on any occasion is a big up for us."
The match at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground was a repeat of the 2021 final in Dubai when Australia powered to an eight-wicket win and maiden crown.
Aaron Finch's men now have their work cut out to match the feat in a tough Group 1 with Afghanistan, England and qualifiers Ireland and Sri Lanka awaiting them. Only the top two make the semi-finals.
New Zealand got off to a sensational start after Finch sent them in to bat, with Allen cracking two fours and a six off Mitchell Starc's opening over.
Not to be outdone, Conway then crunched two blistering boundaries off Josh Hazlewood as the Black Caps plundered 29 from the first two overs.
Adam Zampa dropped Allen in the next over as Pat Cummins was similarly punished, taken for 17.
But the young right-hander's luck ran out when Hazlewood returned and the wily pace spearhead bowled him for 42 as he charged down the crease.
The introduction of Marcus Stoinis and Zampa helped stem the run flow, but Conway brought up his 50 with a six off Zampa, who trapped Kane Williamson (23) lbw in the same over.
Hazlewood removed Glenn Phillips for 12 before Jimmy Neesham hit a six off the final ball to reach 200.
Australia's chase started badly when David Warner, the player of the tournament in 2021, fell for three in the second over, dragging the ball onto his stumps off Southee.
Finch (13) hit a giant six off Trent Boult but didn't last much longer, striking Santner straight to Williamson at cover as his miserable form continued.
It was a similar story for Mitchell Marsh, briefly hitting big to make 16 before being caught by Neesham going for another slog to leave Australia teetering at 34-2 in the fifth over.
Phillips pulled off one of the catches of the tournament so far to remove Stoinis for seven, leaping full length to his left as he ran from deep cover.
And when the big-hitting Tim David, preferred to Steve Smith, became Santner's third wicket, out for 11, it was all but over at 68-5 in the 11th over.
Matthew Wade (two) and Glenn Maxwell (28) were their last hope with the tailenders offering little resistance.
Australia next meet Sri Lanka in Perth on Tuesday while New Zealand face Afghanistan in Melbourne a day later.