The White Ferns stamped themselves as women's cricket World Cup contenders after aggressive bowling and an afternoon downpour gave them an ideal start against Australia today.
The New Zealanders celebrated a 13-run win in their tournament opener under the Duckworth-Lewis method after they reduced the tournament favourites to 133 for six off 33 overs when the rain doused North Sydney Oval.
At that stage Australia's Duckworth-Lewis par total was 145 for six, leaving the New Zealanders to gleefully watch the rain fall before the umpires called time at 7.20pm (NZT).
The result was huge for New Zealand's title chances and put the pressure on Australia, with points from pool play carried over to the Super Six stage, before the top-two sides play off in the March 22 final.
Their total of 205 didn't seem enough, but New Zealand never relinquished control thanks to a fiery bowling effort before a crowd of 1350.
Player of the match Kate Pulford crippled Australia's innings with three for 32 off seven overs after Sophie Devine set the tone with two for 19 off seven.
"I'm absolutely chuffed, really proud of the girls' effort," said New Zealand captain Haidee Tiffen, who topscored with 57.
"We fell short with our total but Kate Pulford's spell got us back into the game.... it was really impressive.
"That's the key when we play Australia, to pick up those early wickets. That's where they've absolutely hammered us in the past."
The bowlers ripped into their work, with a clear plan to target the Australians with short-pitched deliveries.
Devine nicked out opener Alex Blackwell in the third over, then Pulford claimed the prized scalp of captain Karen Rolton.
Having hit Pulford over her head for six, Rolton attacked a short ball and skied a catch to Sara McGlashan on 21.
Pulford removed the two other key figures Lisa Sthalekar (six) and Shelley Nitschke (27) within four overs; Sthalekar caught one-handed by wicketkeeper Rachel Priest and opener Nitschke trapped lbw, just after she'd hooked Pulford for six.
A brilliant Nicola Browne catch, diving at mid-wicket, removed Jess Cameron, and when Priest held a skier off spinner Aimee Mason to remove Lauren Ebsary the White Ferns had control at 100 for six in the 24th.
New Zealand round out pool play against West Indies on Tuesday and South Africa on Thursday, before a vital Super Six match against England next Saturday.
"We love playing Australia, that's why it's extra special that we've beaten them in the first game. It sets us up nicely, we'll enjoy the moment but we won't think too far ahead," Tiffen said.
New Zealand looked set for a total approaching 250 before a late batting collapse saw them limp to 205 all out in the 48th over.
They were well set at 171 for three in the 41st over then lost seven wickets for 34 in 45 balls.
Tiffen faced 113 balls for 57, her 17th one-day international half-century in her 112th match, before she was caught on the long-on boundary off the bowling of spinner Erin Osborne.
After being sent in to bat, Tiffen and Amy Satterthwaite, who scored a brisk 38, added the best partnership of the innings with 67 for the third wicket.
Young allrounder Ellyse Perry recovered from a dislocated finger to be the top Australian wicket-taker with three for 40 off six overs.