LONDON: Ross Taylor's unbeaten 21 saw New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over outsiders Scotland in their opening Group D match in the ICC World Twenty20 at the Oval here on Saturday.
In a match reduced by rain to just seven overs per side, Scotland made an impressive 89 for four thanks to rapid innings from Kyle Coetzer (33) and Ryan Watson and Navdeep Poonia, who both made 27.
But in the end their bowling could not quite match their batting with the Kiwis getting home with an over to spare.
That meant they avoided the embarrassment suffered by hosts England, beaten by the Netherlands in Friday's tournament opener at Lord's, of losing to a minor cricket nation.
Brendon McCullum, captaining in place of the injured Daniel Vettori, began the pursuit of the 90 New Zealand needed by striking four fours from Calum McLeod as 19 runs in all came off the first over.
Jesse Ryder continued the assault by launching Craig Wright for two huge sixes. But after a run of four successive boundaries, the left-hander holed out to McLeod off Wright.
Then 51 for one became 59 for two when McCullum was run out for 18 after a huge mix-up with Taylor.
Jacob Oram was given a reprieve when Gordon Drummond dropped a miscued effort and knocked the ball on four. But next delivery the giant all-rounder holed out off Watsom whose lone over cost just four runs.
That left New Zealand 68 for three.
Each 'dot ball' was cheered to the echo by a crowd keen to witness an upset.
New Zealand got the target down to 22 off 12 balls but then scored the runs they needed in just one over from medium-pacer Stander, who had two sixes scored off him by Taylor and one by Scott Styris.
Scotland made a blistering start with the bat.
They plundered 18 runs off the first over with Zimbabwe born and South Africa raised Watson striking four fours off Iain O'Brien.
He began first ball with a top-edged hook and, after two leg-byes, followed up with a couple of pulls before a straight drive also went to the boundary.
But he eventually holed out off Ian Butler's first ball to Taylor in the covers.
New batsman Kyle Coetzer kept the tempo high with a superb off-driven six against medium-pacer Ryder and next ball followed that up with a four.
At the end of the fifth over Scotland were 67 for one.
Poonia then leg-glanced Oram for four and next ball hoisted him for an enormous six over mid-wicket.
But Scotland lost three wickets off successive balls in the last over of their innings from seamer Ian Butler, who finished with three wickets for 19 runs from his two overs.