Key Points:

Captain Daniel Vettori hit the winning run off the final ball to lead New Zealand to a thrilling two-wicket victory in a controversial Chappell-Hadlee Trophy cricket opener against Australia here tonight.

Vettori showed the cool head New Zealand needed, hitting Nathan Bracken behind point off the final ball after they needed five off the last over, chasing just 182 after an outstanding bowling and fielding performance.

Tim Southee was bowled by Bracken with four balls remaining but No 10 Jeetan Patel did his bit with two off two balls to give his skipper the chance to win it and go to game two in Melbourne with the early honours.

There was major controversy in New Zealand's chase when Neil Broom was bowled by spinner Michael Clarke for 29, but replays showed Brad Haddin knocked off the bails with his gloves and the ball missed the top of the stumps.

Umpires Steve Bucknor and Bruce Oxenford both missed it, and a confused Broom wandered off with the match well poised at 106 for five in the 37th.

A Ross Taylor half-century and a fine all-round performance from Kyle Mills got New Zealand to a winning position.

New Zealand slumped to 25 for three at a sweltering WACA ground before the in-form Taylor anchored the chase with 64 off 97 balls.

Taylor and Mills - who starred with the ball to take four for 35 - added 62 before Mills departed for 26, then Taylor followed soon after when he was caught at point with 12 runs needed.

Australian shoulders slumped even further with their fourth consecutive ODI defeat, all on home soil. Their previous worst run was five straight losses in 2006-07, including the 0-3 defeat in New Zealand.

There was a horror start to the runchase when Brendon McCullum was trapped lbw second ball by Tait. Replays showed a thick inside edge missed by Oxenford, and McCullum's displeasure was clear.

It was quickly 25 for three when Martin Guptill and Peter Fulton departed in the space of three overs, Fulton to a magnificent one-handed return catch by Mitchell Johnson.

Grant Elliott, promoted to No 5, faced 31 balls for eight before he hit a soft catch to short cover and it was a tenuous 64 for four in the 23rd.

Led by a performance befitting the world's fifth-ranked ODI bowler, Mills, some shrewd captaincy and miserly spinning from Vettori, and some brilliant fielding, New Zealand skittled Australia for 181 off 48.4 overs.

Vettori capitalised on the early good work with none for 22 off 10, as South African coach Mickey Arthur's description of New Zealand as a team of scrappers who could give Australia a fright was proven.

Just two days after suffering a third consecutive defeat to South Africa and a 1-4 series loss, Australia went in to bat before a baying full house baking in 35degC sun after captain Ricky Ponting won the toss.

By the 20-over mark you could hear a pin drop at 54 for five.

After a tight start by Mills and Tim Southee, Mills removed rookie openers Shaun Marsh and David Warner to sharp catches by 2m-tall Fulton at short cover, a cunning Vettori field placement.

Then came the two key moments of the innings, when Australia's captain and vice-captain both took on New Zealand arms from the deep and lost.

On five, Ponting punted on Broom's rocket throw from deep square leg and was caught centimetres short, then Clarke tried the same against Guptill at wide third man for the same result.

Then offspinner Patel, boldly backed by Vettori in the match leadup, took on golden arm status when he removed David Hussey with his first ball to a leg side catch by McCullum.

Michael Hussey showed the most resistance with 49 before Iain O'Brien removed he and James Hopes in the space of four balls, and Mills returned to trap Haddin lbw for 31 just as he was about to launch.

SCOREBOARD
Australia
S Marsh c Fulton b Mills 15
D Warner c Fulton b Mills 7
R Ponting run out 5
M Clarke run out 12
D Hussey c McCullum b Patel 13
M Hussey c Elliott b O'Brien 49
B Haddin b Mills 31
J Hopes c Vettori b O'Brien 18
M Johnson b Mills 20
N Bracken lbw b Southee 0
S Tait not out 9
Extras (2w) 2

Total (48.4 overs) 181

Fall: 20 (Marsh), 23 (Warner), 27 (Ponting), 51 (Clarke), 54 (D

Hussey), 115 (Haddin), 152 (M Hussey), 153 (Hopes), 154 (Bracken), 181 (Johnson).

Bowling: K Mills 9.4-0-35-4 (1w), T Southee 10-0-34-1, I O'Brien 10-1-43-2, D Vettori 10-0-22-0, J Patel 9-0-47-1 (1w).


B McCullum lbw b Tait 0
M Guptill b Bracken 13
P Fulton c and b Johnson 7
R Taylor c Clarke b Bracken 64
G Elliott c M Hussey b Hopes 8
N Broom b Clarke 29
K Mills b Tait 26
D Vettori not out 7
T Southee b Bracken 3
J Patel not out 2
Extras (1b, 11lb, 11w) 23

Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 182

Fall: 0 (McCullum), 25 (Guptill), 25 (Fulton), 64 (Elliott), 106 (Broom), 168 (Mills), 170 (Taylor), 178 (Southee).

Bowling: S Tait 10-1-40-2 (3w), N Bracken 10-3-35-3 (1w), M Johnson 10-2-34-1 (3w), J Hopes 10-1-23-1, M Clarke 6-0-18-1 (2w), D Hussey 4-0-20-0 (2w).

Result: New Zealand won by 2 wickets.
Man of the match: Kyle Mills.

- NZPA