Australia have bounced back with a near-perfect performance to thump the Blackcaps in the third T20 at Wellington's Sky Stadium and keep their five-match series alive.
Spin bowler Ashton Agar was the star of the show, producing career-best figures of 6/30 from his four overs to lead his side to a 64-run victory.
The match was played under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 conditions, with no spectators, but the players didn't let that stop them from putting on a show.
Kane Williamson won the toss and wasted no time sending the visitors in and straight away that looked like the right decision.
Trent Boult (1/39) picked up dangerous opener Matthew Wade (5) to give the hosts the perfect start, but this was as good as it got on the night for the Blackcaps.
Australian captain Aaron Finch (69) was under pressure for his place in the side, but produced a career-saving knock.
After surviving an early leg-before-wicket review that showed umpire's call, Finch combined with Josh Philippe (43) for an 83-run partnership to had their side in the box seat.
After Ish Sodhi (2/32) picked up Philippe, Glenn Maxwell (70) produced every shot in his repertoire to punish the New Zealand bowlers in a 37-ball stay.
Maxwell smashed Jimmy Neesham (0/60) for 28 off his final over, including four fours and two sixes, to set his side up for a massive total.
The pair combined for a 64-partnership, before a late mini-collapse saw Australia through to a well-above-par 208/4.
In reply, the Blackcaps were never really in it, losing wickets consistently.
Martin Guptill (43) continued his return to form with a hard-hitting knock, but couldn't go on with the job and lost his wicket at a crucial moment.
The game swung in Australia's favour in the 13th over, when Agar picked up three wickets, dismissing the dangerous Glenn Phillips (13), Devon Conway (38) and Jimmy Neesham (0) to make the Kiwis' mission impossible.
Agar finished the job with three more wickets to produce his best figures and the best ever at the venue.
The remaining two matches will be played in Wellington and the Blackcaps will need an improved performance, if they are to wrap up the series with a game to spare.
Australia 208/4 (Maxwell 70, Finch 69, Philippe 43, Sodhi 2/32) Blackcaps 144 (Guptil 43, Conway 38, Agar 6/30, Meredith 2/24)
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