New Zealand raced the sun as to who was going to disappear first after being asked to bat by Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground to open the T20 tri-series.

The Black Caps stumbled to 117 for nine, before almost an hour of rain reduced the hosts' target to 95 from 15 overs. That was polished off with seven wickets and 21 balls to spare in a mismatched start to the tournament.

After losing two early wickets, a partnership of 77 from 53 balls between Chris Lynn (44 from 33) and Glenn Maxwell (40 not out from 24) ensured Australia were in control.

As it happened: Australia cruise past Black Caps

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The New Zealand total looked under par, given the average first innings score in nine Big Bash League matches at the ground this season was 154.

The visitors went in as the second-ranked team in the world but their seventh-ranked opponents, many fresh from the ruthless BBL, were dominant.

New Zealand buckled under the intimidation which can strike the moment teams land in Australia's hyperbaric cricketing chamber.

The batsmen looked like koalas in the glare of the bowlers' high-beam headlights.

From a side which has triumphed most of the summer, the Kiwis looked vulnerable as the Australians built pressure through 45 dot balls. That included one period of 11 in a row as Kane Williamson and Tom Bruce struggled against the accuracy of Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake.

Those difficulties were best exemplified by Williamson, who crept to eight from 21 balls, and Ross Taylor who mustered 24 off 35.

Until Colin de Grandhomme pulled Stanlake for four off the second ball of the 14th over, New Zealand had hit two fours with the previous one coming 52 balls earlier.

Only de Grandhomme looked capable of dealing with the heat generated by the Australian bowlers and fielders.

The all-rounder looked worth every rupee paid by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for his services in this year's Indian Premier League. He thrashed an unbeaten 38 off 24 balls, including three sixes.

Bringing de Grandhomme to the wicket at 60 for five in the 13th over, rather than the eighth when Williamson exited at 34 for four, is a tactic that will require scrutiny. He could have accessed 29 extra balls in a period when the run rate was dire.

No Australian bowler conceded more than seven runs an over, but Andrew Tye's changes of pace on his way to four wickets for 23 runs, and Stanlake's steepling bounce as part of three for 15 were highlights.

As a 2.04m right-armer, Stanlake's venom paralysed New Zealand before they entered the middle overs and he was a deserved man-of-the-match.

He had Colin Munro caught pulling a short-of-a-length ball then, once the batsmen had crossed, Martin Guptill's defence was unstitched by a delivery that seamed away to hit the top of off stump. Bruce was caught hooking from the second ball of Stanlake's second over and New Zealand flailed at 16 for three. That problem had only exacerbated at 29 for three after the six-over powerplay.


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