DHARAMSALA (India) • New Zealand gained partial revenge for last year's World Cup final defeat with an eight-run win over Australia in cricket's World Twenty20 yesterday.
The Black Caps relied on power hitting at both ends of their innings, from Martin Guptill (39 runs) up front and Grant Elliott (27) in the closing overs, to reach 142 for eight.
It looked below par but tight bowling earned them a second successive win as Mitchell McClenaghan, recalled after missing the opening game when a spin-heavy attack skittled India, took three for 17.
Australia came into the tournament with an embarrassment of top-order riches and decided to open with Usman Khawaja and Shane Watson.
The decision meant there was no place for Aaron Finch, who was captain of the side barely six weeks ago and is the top-ranked batsman in this format of the game.
Khawaja (38) added 44 runs with Shane Watson (13) before Australia suffered a collapse to slump to 66-4 at the halfway mark of their innings.
Glenn Maxwell (22) and Mitchell Marsh (24) tried their best but Australia kept losing wickets at regular intervals and needed 19 runs off the final over sent down by Corey Anderson.
The New Zealand pace bowler dismissed James Faulkner with the first ball to dash Australia's slender hopes of a narrow win as New Zealand rose to top the group table.
Earlier, Guptill gave New Zealand a flying start in a 61-run opening stand with skipper Kane Williamson (24), who decided to bat first on a dry track at the picturesque stadium in the north Indian hill station.
Maxwell proved why he is such an asset for Australia, taking a catch in the deep to send back the dangerous Guptill, dismissing Williamson with his second delivery and sending back Anderson in his next over.
The 27-year-old remained in the thick of things, taking another catch to dismiss Luke Ronchi and firing in a bullet throw to run out Mitchell Santner.
While Elliott contributed down the order, New Zealand managed only 84 runs in the last 14 overs.