Australian player Marcus Stoinis' stellar all-round performance went in vain as New Zealand won the first one-day thriller by 6 runs at Auckland's Eden Park.
In just his second ODI, Stoinis led the attack and scored unbeaten 146 as the Australians chased a target of 287 runs. Earlier in the match, he had taken three wickets.
He came to the crease with Australia reeling at 54 for five and calmly set about rebuilding after his more experienced teammates had squandered their wickets.
His 146 was a record ODI score for an Australian number seven batsman and included 11 sixes and nine fours.
Remarkably, the 27-year-old's last partnership with Josh Hazlewood was worth 54, but Hazlewood did not face a single ball as Stoinis stayed on strike trying to guide Australia home.
His heroics prevented a trouncing in the opening match of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, sparing Australia's blushes after they rested their star batsmen for the series.
The tourists left David Warner and Usman Khawaja out of the squad to protect them for the upcoming Test series in India, then lost captain Steve Smith and wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade to injury.
But the players expected to offer leadership in their absence failed to step up and the Australians crumbled before Stoinis arrived.
Their woes were largely caused by rash or careless shots, not demons in a pitch on which the New Zealanders had batted solidly.
Relative newcomers such as Travis Head (5) and Peter Hanscomb (4) could be forgiven for a rush of blood to the head at the sight of the short Eden Park boundaries.
- With PTI inputs