Blackcaps v Australia: Plaudits flow for 'unbelievable' Devon Conway in NZ demolition in Twenty20 opener

Blackcaps batsman Devon Conway insists he's just trying to "ride the wave" of his outstanding form, after yet another masterful knock.

The South African-born dynamo has blasted an unbeaten 99 off just 59 balls in the Blackcaps 53-run win in the opening Twenty20 international against Australia, almost rendering the new Hagley Oval lights redundant, as he lit up the venue.

The half-century is Conway's fifth straight in the format, coming on the back of scoring 50, 69no, 91no, and 93no to lead Wellington Firebirds to the domestic Super Smash title.

"You've just got to ride that wave as long as it lasts, but [I am] pretty happy," Conway says. "It's a good start to the series and [we have] just got to keep the momentum going.

"The key to my batting is just playing strong shots and running hard between the wickets. I'm not looking too much into it and just enjoying the moment."

The 29-year-old struck a six and a four off two of the final three balls of the innings, but was unable to get back for the second run from the final delivery and fell just a run shy of a maiden international century.

"Naturally, I am a little disappointed, but good to get the win. Probably a little more disappointed for Ish [Sodhi] not getting his 'five-for', but happy days," he says, referring to the NZ spinner's match-best bowling figures of 4/28.

"It's pretty cool."

Making his seventh T20 international appearance, but playing just his fifth innings, he now boasts an average of 91, with 273 runs already to his name.

Entering the game with the Blackcaps struggling at 19/3, Conway's timely innings was "unbelievable", says captain Kane Williamson.

"An incredible knock," says Williamson. "It was obviously a really tough start for us with the bat and to see those partnerships through the middle order, led by Devon with an unbelievable 99 on a surface that starting on wasn't all that easy. 

"We saw that with a bit of swing in our innings as well. An incredible knock and a great effort to get to that 180 mark."

Even the Australians were left aghast, admitting they were caught off guard by Conway's whirlwind knock.

"It was an incredible innings," says all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. "He is obviously someone we'll have to make sure we do a lot of homework over the next few days.

"Days like that you have to take your hat off and say 'well done'. There's no doubt all our bowling group were well planned - he just had a great day."

On the other side of the ledger, Australia refuse to use their fortnight in isolation as an excuse for their drubbing.

Chasing New Zealand's total of 185, the visitors lost early wickets and never recovered, ultimately dismissed for a paltry 131.

The match took place just a day after the squad had left a Christchurch isolation facility, where they were able to train together, but unable to socialise outside of designated windows.

Captain Aaron Finch says their quarantine experience was positive.

"The 14 days was pretty good to be honest," Finch says. "They looked after us brilliantly.

"The defence force, the Government, they've all been fantastic.

"We didn't play our best tonight. New Zealand just played well."

Marsh, who top-scored for Australia 45 runs, echoes his skipper's sentiments.

"I felt really great coming out of quarantine," he says. "We're very lucky that we were able to train and prepare for today's match.

"We all felt fantastic. Ultimately, we were just outplayed by New Zealand."

The teams now head south for the second T20 at Dunedin's University Oval.

Join us for live updates of the second T20 between NZ and Australia on Thursday from 7pm