India had never lost a T20 worldwide by 50 or more runs prior to this match.
Opener Tim Seifert, who came into the side for an injured Martin Guptill, blasted 84 off 43 balls before India capitulated to scoreboard pressure on a pitch slowing down by the minute, collapsing to 139 all-out with four balls to spare in the innings.
The Black Caps have claimed first blood in their T20 series with India, romping to a 80-run win in Wellington. The defeat was India's worst in terms of runs in a T20I.
India lost captain Rohit Sharma early in the chase and Ferguson got rid of Dhawan with a rapid yorker in the final over of the powerplay before Mitchell Santner (2-24) removed Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar in the space of three balls to leave the tourists reeling.
"We were outplayed in all three departments", he said. It´s a small ground.
"We have all the required ingredients of a good team". There was a tough chance off Krunal Pandya's bowling put down by Dhoni when Seifert was on 17, and then by Dinesh Karthik off the same bowler on 71. They had some luck - there's always some luck in this format - but Seifert was in fine form, picking up anything that drifted into his pads on his way to seven fours and six sixes.
Kane Williamson added a vital 34 to the New Zealand cause and there were enterprising cameos late in the innings from Ross Taylor with 23 off 14 and an unbeaten 20 from seven deliveries by Scott Kuggeleijn.
Shikhar Dhawan blazed away with a quick 29, but five wickets fell for 26 runs in 33 deliveries once he was bowled by Lockie Ferguson. They did find it hard to make a clean sweep, however keeping all aside; they are going for an impressive start to the T20 series.