ICC Women's World Cup, North Sydney Oval:
New Zealand 205 (48 overs) bt Australia 132-6 (33 overs) by 13 runs (D/L method)
Pulford ended up with figures of 3-32 as New Zealand stunned Australia
World Cup favourites Australia suffered a miserable start to their 2009 campaign when they were beaten by New Zealand in Sydney.
Chasing 205, the five-time winners were 13 runs short of the par score under the Duckworth-Lewis method when rain stopped play with the hosts on 132-6.
New Zealand skipper Haidee Tiffen fired a fine 57 but the White Ferns lost the last seven wickets for only 36 runs.
They then managed to restrict the hosts before the match was abandoned.
"I thought the New Zealanders bowled really well. They put the pressure on us and we made the mistakes," said Australia skipper Karen Rolton.
"We'll continue to be positive for the rest of the tournament and try to win our remaining group matches. There's still a long way to go in the tournament and a lot of games to play, so anything can still happen."
Tiffen provided her team with a good platform and received support from Suzie Bates (29), Amy Satterthwaite (38) and Sara McGlashan (29).
But New Zealand collapsed, Ellyse Perry taking 3-40 despite dislocating a finger.
Australia lost an early wicket but Rolton and Shelley Nitschke got the holders off to a quick start.
Although New Zealand dropped three catches in the first 20 overs, they managed to claim regular wickets before the players were forced from the field in the 31st over.
Play did resume but three overs later the match was abandoned because of bad light and light showers.
"I'm absolutely chuffed, really proud of the girls' effort," said Tiffen. "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.
"I am delighted with the victory but I think we should have scored around 240 or 250.
"Losing seven wickets for 36 runs is not our standard and we certainly need to look at this area and try to not only bat all 50 overs but to convert good starts into big scores."
Also in Group A, the West Indies started their World Cup with a thrilling two-wicket victory over South Africa.
Stafanie Taylor, 17, was the bowling star for the West Indies, taking 4-17 as South Africa slumped to 116 all out - losing the last seven wickets for 22 runs.
The West Indies made hard of their reply, however, losing the two openers for just 16.
A little bit disappointed is not the word for it at the moment
South Africa skipper Sunette Loubser
Shanel Daley and Stacy-Ann King steadied the innings with a 45-run third-wicket partnership but progress was slow in the latter part of the innings and the West Indies reached 117-8 with just eight balls to spare.
"We are very happy and all the girls worked hard for this. We knew what we had to do and we came out and did it," said West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira.
"We knew we could take our time getting the runs, the girls didn't rush anything. Even though it took a long time at the end of the day we came away with the win."
With opener Alicia Smith (46) only one of three South African players to record double figures, skipper Sunette Loubser criticised her side's batting.
"A little bit disappointed is not the word for it at the moment," she said. "We made a meal of the batting. The bowlers did really well to almost defend that score.
"No one is to blame. It's the whole team thing but we just need to score more runs to be able to defend it.
"The girls showed a lot of heart and passion to almost defend it like they did. They never gave up and I'm proud of that fact."