A Devon Conway batting masterclass inspired New Zealand to a 53-run win over Australia in the opening Twenty20 international in Christchurch on Monday.
Conway smashed an unbeaten 99 off 59 balls as the Black Caps overcame a shaky start to finish on 184 for five after losing the toss and being put in to bat.In reply, the tourists were all out for 131 after 17.3 overs, with Black Caps spinner Ish Sodhi taking four wickets for 28 to give the hosts an early edge in the five-match series.
Australia captain Aaron Finch refused to blame the loss on his team's two-week Covid-19 quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand.
Jhye Richardson, fresh from signing a multi-million dollar Indian Premier League contract, was the pick of the Australian bowlers, taking two for 31.
But the tourists could not dislodge Conway, whose 59-ball knock included 10 fours and three sixes, helping the Black Caps bounce back from 19 for three.
Conway said he was "pretty chuffed" with his career-best effort, even though he was stranded just short of a century after failing to take two runs off the final ball.The Black Caps may turn to uncapped Finn Allen for the next match in Dunedin on Thursday.