The New Zealand cricket team registered a comprehensive 53-run victory in the first T20I against Australia at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. Chasing a formidable target of 185, Australia were restricted on just 131 runs in 17.3 overs by the hosts as Ish Sodhi claimed four wickets to derail the visitors' innings. <p></p> <p></p>The Australian team missed their star players David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins against high-flying New Zealand. <p></p> <p></p>Earlier, Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bowl first in Christchurch. The Australia pacers backed their captain's decision and claimed three-quick wickets for just 19 as New Zealand star top-order Martin Guptill (0), Tim Seifert(1) and Kane Williamson (19) failed to score big. After the early collapse, Devon Conway took the charge of the hosts' innings and rebuild it with a solid partnership alongside Glenn Phillips. The duo shared a crucial 74-run stand for the fourth wicket before Marcus Stoinis dismissed Phillips on 30. <p></p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p></p><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Handshakes at Hagley! A 53 run win to start the KFC T20 Series against Australia. Mitchell Santner with the final wicket. Dunedin is next for Game 2 on Thursday! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NZvAUS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NZvAUS</a> <a href="https://t.co/sEzrNs8Z4u">pic.twitter.com/sEzrNs8Z4u</a></p> <p></p> BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) <a href="https://twitter.com/BLACKCAPS/status/1363781517806247937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 22, 2021</a></blockquote> <p></p> <p></p>Conway continued his aggressive show with all-rounder James Neesham who scored 26-runs off 15 balls. Conway finished the innings with style for New Zealand but unfortunately, he missed his maiden T20I century by 1 run as the southpaw remained not out on 99. He slammed 10 fours and three sixes during his majestic knock as New Zealand posted 184-5 on the scoreboard in 20 overs. <p></p> <p></p>Meanwhile, Australia had a miserable start to their chase as they lost four wickets for just 19 runs as Tim Southee and Trent Boult ran riot with the ball. Finch, Matthew Wade, Josh Philippe and Glenn Maxwell struggled against New Zealand's dynamic duo and lost their wickets cheaply. <p></p> <p></p>Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar were the only Australian batters who put up some fight against the hosts with 45 and 23 runs respectively. <p></p> <p></p>Sodhi was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand with his four-wicket haul, while Southee and Boult claimed 2-wicket each. While Jamieson and Mitchell Santner also managed to get a wicket each to bowl out Australia for just 131 runs. <p></p> <p></p>The second T20I of the five-match series will be played on February 25 at University Oval, Dunedin.