New Zealand were too slow to adjust to the nature of the Sydney pitch according to Ross Taylor who thought a total of 140 would have given them a fighting chance.
Three wickets in the first four overs - including two from Billy Stanlake's opening two deliveries - set back New Zealand's innings to such an extent that they could only limp to 9 for 117 with Australia cantering to a rain-adjusted target to take the opening points of the Trans-Tasman tri-series.
The start of Stanlake's spell was the most eye-catching period of the match as he pushed the speedgun over 150kph, dismissing Colin Munro first ball then producing an unplayable delivery to take Martin Guptill's off stump.
Munro is given licence to attack at the top of New Zealand's limited-overs line-ups, but didn't give himself a sighter against Stanlake when he top-edged a short ball and, while Guptill could do little about his delivery, Tom Bruce then top-edged another short ball to long leg in Stanlake's second over.
"We probably didn't assess conditions well enough, Australia bowled very well and there was a little in the wicket but we weren't able to soak that up," Taylor said. "Don't know it was 160-170 wicket but if we'd scrapped our way to 140 we might have been a chance."
With New Zealand's two top-order strikers gone in two deliveries, boundaries were hard to come by to the extent that there was just one in the Powerplay after the opening over - and that was an edge fine of slip by Taylor - as captain David Warner gave Stanlake three of his four overs on the bounce.
"I thought he bowled very well and those were two big wickets with his first two balls set the tone for their innings and our batting," Taylor said. "He's bowled very well in the Big Bash, it wasn't a quick wicket here but he bowled well with good pace and will be one to watch in the future for sure."
Kane Williamson soaked up 21 deliveries for his 8 before getting a leading edge into the covers and Taylor was left to hold the innings together. Tom Blundell was promoted up the order to try and ensure the innings went deep to allow Colin de Grandhomme, who finished as the top-scorer with 38 off 24 balls, the freedom to attack later on.
Taylor edged Ashton Agar's final delivery to depart for 24 off 35 balls - New Zealand's second-slowest 20-plus score in T20Is - while de Grandhomme clubbed three of the four sixes New Zealand managed, but Taylor rejected any suggestion that the difficulty in clearing the rope was because of the transition from the small grounds in New Zealand.
"You just have to back yourself that you are doing the right thing at the time, try to eliminate the dot balls. Each time we lost a wicket we had to hold back and take it as deep as possible. I think it was more the wicket than the size of the boundary the slower balls stuck in the wicket."