During her 51-ball stay in the middle, Harmanpreet sent the New Zealand bowlers on a leather hunt as she recorded boundaries at will and also easily.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, India found themselves in a vulnerable position, tottering at 40/3 by the sixth over, after losing the top three batswomen - Taniya Bhatia (9), Smriti Mandhana (2) and Dayalan Hemalatha (15), cheaply.
Kaur shared a 134-run fourth-wicket partnership with Jemimah Rodrigues (59) as the 50-over World Cup runners-up recovered from 40-3 to post 194-5, the highest total in the history of the competition.
India began their World T20 campaign in style by beating New Zealand. As a team, we need to improve a lot. "(Regarding my batting) I needed to settle down", Harmanpreet said after the convincing win. "You can see everyone is up to the mark where you need to be at the global standard", said Mandhana, who is also the vice-captain. But a stunning victory this from India and credit goes to Harmanpreet Kaur here. She is very mature. As a bowling unit, we need to improve.
Kaur revealed she was down with a fever on the eve of the big opener but there were no signs of it during her trailblazing knock.
The big-hitting Harmanpreet played shots on all sides of the wicket, and was most effective towards the long-off, long-on and the deep mid-wicket region. The India skipper bettered her own record of the most number of sixes (previously five) hit by an Indian women's cricketer on Friday.
India have never won the World T20 in their previous five attempts with their best result, a semifinal appearance, coming in 2009 and 2010. Harmanpreet also credited coach Romesh Powar for changing the team's mindset from the time he took over. "They know that if we grow as individuals, the team grows, the Indian women's cricket grows, and people will start noticing the game in India and around the world", Powar told the ICC's official website.
"When initially I was running twos, I got a little cramp, after that the physio gave me medicine, and a little bit it settled down", she said.
New Zealand squad: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Harriet Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin.