Opener Travis Head blazed 45 runs off 22 balls but Australia collapsed to be dismissed for 174 in the second Twenty20 international against New Zealand on Friday in Auckland.

The home side, inspired by the pace bowling of Lockie Ferguson, need to score 175 to square the three-match series after Australia won game one by six wickets in Wellington.

Ferguson took 4-12 from 3.5 overs, including two wickets in the final over, as Australia's innings ended with one ball remaining.

New Zealand won the toss but were on the back foot in the opening overs as Head struck five sixes and two fours, taking advantage of the short boundaries at Eden Park and some wayward early bowling.

The tourists reached 85-1 in the seventh over following the early departure of Steve Smith for 11 but their innings lost direction after Head was bowled by Ben Sears.

Five wickets fell in the space of five overs through the middle stages, with only 26 from captain Mitchell Marsh maintaining the early momentum.

Pat Cummins struck five fours further down the order in scoring 28.

Ferguson bowled with pace and accuracy, getting good support from Adam Milne, Sears and skipper Mitchell Santner, who all took two wickets.

Both teams made three changes.

Will Young, Trent Boult and Sears came into New Zealand's side while Australia recalled Smith, Matthew Wade and Nathan Ellis.